What happens when we, as adults, go on vacation? Most of us (I will not assume all) experience a sense of relaxation, a rejuvenating avoidance of our day to day responsibilities of the world. When our children (or even ourselves as times) go on vacation, it can be relaxation, avoidance, or a combination of those, but what does that mean exactly?
We have a saying in our practice, we talk about the August slump in the number of patients that we see and the September and October overflow that is very overwhelming, even as professionals. Why does this happen? Well, avoidance. There is a belief that somehow “time will heal” or that “everything is fine because it is summer!” When our stressful life events again re-appear in our lives, such as school or our job, we begin to experience the same clinical symptoms. We have come to label it in our practice as the “clinical slump” instead of “summer slump.” When patients come in over the summer, there is a trend towards a better prognosis. After looking at years of clinical data, I have seen trends that typically these patients notice when something in their life BEGINS to be problematic, rather than waiting months or years to receive help. Imagine if you go to the doctor and you have been coughing for months and they give you a diagnosis of pneumonia. What would have happened if you had gone in after a week or two, when maybe it was a bad cough or just bronchitis? The treatment differs significantly, and so does our treatment as mental health providers.
What, if anything, should you take from this post? Be proactive! For your kids! For yourself. Do not wait until the problem is so bad that you ABSOLUTELY have to be seen.
Have a great rest of summer everyone!