Family Separation Can Cause Permanent Health Problems

Find out how separation can impact health.

Family Separation Can Cause Permanent Health Problems

Research has shown that stress caused by children being separated from their parents is not only traumatic but may cause long-term health issues.

When a person is stressed their heart rate increases and the body releases certain hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline. When children get stressed and don’t have a parent or caregiver around to ease those physical symptoms, those stress hormones can kill off neurons in time, leading to psychological damage as well as harming the physical structure of the brain. “According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is well documented that when immigrant children are detained and separated from their parents, they can develop toxic stress, which can adversely impact their development,” states a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen from the Nursing Community Coalition. The coalition represents thirty three organizations, such as the American Academy of Nursing and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.

President Trump signed an executive order calling for an end to the separation of migrant families on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

Your Parent Has Dementia: What to Talk to Their Doctor About

Make sure all their doctors are aware of all the medications she is taking.

Q: My mom is 94 and has dementia. She is taking a whole medicine cabinet-full of medications and I think they actually make her fuzzier. How should I talk to her various doctors about what she is taking and if she can get off some of the meds? — Gary R., Denver, Colorado

A: Many dementia patients are taking what docs call a "polypharmacy" — three or more medications that affect their central nervous system. And we really don't know how that mixture truly affects each individual person.

A new study in JAMA Network that looked at more than 1 million Medicare patients found almost 14% of them were taking a potentially harmful mix of antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, benzodiazepines such as Valium and Ativan, nonbenzodiazepine benzodiazepine receptor agonist hypnotics such as Ambien or Sonata, and opioids. And almost a third of those folks were taking five or more such medications. The most common medication combination included an antidepressant, an antiepileptic, and an antipsychotic. Gabapentin was the most common medication — often for off-label uses, such as to ease chronic pain or treat psychiatric disorders, according to the researchers from the University of Michigan.

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