After graduating from the UConn School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Maria took a residency in pediatric dentistry at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. In 2014, she became a board-certified pediatric dentist. Dr. Maria serves as adjunct faculty at Norwalk Community College. She has been instrumental in teaching and mentoring in the dental assisting program.
Dr. Maria loves working as a pediatric dentist because every day is interesting and fun, as well as a challenge. The challenge is to maintain or restore good oral health without creating fear or anxiety. Dr. Maria uses compassion, kindness, a good sense of humor, and a lot of coffee to achieve these goals. She especially enjoys working with patients with special needs.
Oftentimes, parents get overwhelmed when dealing with their child’s mental health problem and they get to a point where they’re starting to lose hope. That shouldn’t be the case, however, because there are safe and natural solutions.
One of the treatments that’s been proven effective by thousands of research studies is neurofeedback. For today’s episode, we have Dr. Maria Sciaudone, a pediatric dentist, to share her life-changing experience with neurofeedback.
When did you know you were anxious?
Generally, when it comes to these things, Italians don’t talk about anything but Dr. Maria has seen it as she comes from an Italian family. People tend to divert their attention to food when confronted by something.
Dr. Maria has seen it in her brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. Feel anxious about something? Eat. You’re sad? Eat. It’s like the solution for everything is to eat. That’s because they struggle with their feelings. They don’t know how to deal with everything because there’s a stigma with mental illness.
What’s the level of anxiety that is healthy?
Everybody has anxiety but what differs is the level of anxiety because there’s a level of anxiety where it just stops becoming healthy for us to manage. In fact, it’s easy for life stressors to flare into a full blown anxiety.
Of course, it’s inevitable to experience hardships in life and when things get tough, that’s when you’ll know who the true people are in your life and who you can rely on.
That’s what makes neurofeedback a great tool. It calms the brain down which results in lowering down your child’s anxiety level to a point where it allows your child to comfortably do other things. It helps your child become more focused and it also improves your child’s mood.
What do you try to do for self care?
Despite stopping neurofeedback, Dr. Maria continuously moves forward. She’s able to structure her life well by doing other activities that boost and promote both mental and physical health.
One of the common therapeutic exercises that most people do, especially those dealing with mental health problems, is yoga. It has been proven to be working effectively in alleviating one’s distress and improving one’s mood.
Having good massage sessions and facials are also as therapeutic as getting exercise. All in all, these self care activities help improve one’s attitude and outlook.
When you have an anxiety disorder, you lose control of your rational thought.
What most people don’t realize is that it’s easy for our brain to go into fight, flight or freeze mode when we’re in a heightened situation. Consequently, we lose control of our rational thought when we’re overwhelmed and our degrees and IQs are immaterial in such situations.
What happens is that when your brain is overstimulated, you just keep moving into an anxious state which prevents you from forming sensible thoughts. That’s why it’s necessary for you to try to regulate and calm your brain down.
Are there more kids on the spectrum struggling with their mental health?
The upsetting truth in reality nowadays is that there are many cases of children affected by anxiety. These children feel like they have no outlet for them when it comes to expressing themselves more which badly affects their mental health.
This is commonly occurring to high school aged children who tend to have more and heavier emotional baggage than younger ones. If possible, there should be support groups for these children to be able to at least have an outlet and have a safe place where they can recognize their anxiety.
What would you say to a parent who was considering doing neurofeedback or changing their diet?
As the number of cases of children suffering from mental health problems continuously increases, the number of children on antidepressant medications also increases. Although, that’s not supposed to be the trend.
Medication isn’t the only option and it shouldn’t be the first and immediate solution in treating mental health problems. There are other options available for you and your child.
People want a quick fix.
Change doesn’t happen overnight and the same applies to treating your child’s mental health illness. It’s going to be a long journey and there’s no quick fix but it’s going to be worth it in the long run.
We’ve said that neurofeedback has been a game changer for those struggling with their mental health but take note that it’s only going to work if it’s coupled with other efforts.
Help your child understand what’s going on and let them push themselves into being better. Be there for them as they come out of their shells or step out of their comfort zones. The microchanges matter.
The more you try to bury your head in the sand, the more it will bubble up.
The stigma on mental health has long been there and it should stop because the more someone tries to bury his or her head in the sand, the more it will bubble up and it will come and bite you sooner or later.
Communication is also a vital part of the process which should be prioritized. There’s nothing to be ashamed about if your child wants to talk something out.
They shouldn’t feel like they should hide anything from their own parents because being able to find a release will help them in many aspects and will even improve their mood.
Parents are struggling to keep it together financially.
If only insurance companies were on board with more than just prescribing medications, people would notice an enormous amount of change in the mental health of children.
Other than the stigma on mental health, one of the biggest challenges for parents is their financial capability. Most parents struggle to keep it together financially considering that getting professional help is not that cheap.
It may feel like a burden to some because they’re actually making an investment in time and money. In fact, the cost of therapy is around $200 per session. Just imagine how that would cost for a year.
What would you tell people about your experience with Dr. Roseann?
Walk through that door and have that consultation with Dr. Roseann. The options available for you are not just limited to medications and you will be surprised that there are many other things that you can do to help yourself, your child and your family. It’s been a life changing experience.
Remember that there are many solutions out there. You just have to be open and careful in choosing the best for your child.
You can start with a small action by going to our Facebook group called Natural Parenting Solutions (https://www.facebook.com/groups/naturalparentingsolutions).
Be consistent and watch the change happen.
No matter where you are in your journey, we have resources to help you:
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