Depression in teens

I watched a show I taped from PBS the other night called “Depression: Out of the Shadows” It was very good. It showcased several teens that suffered from depression. It also talked about adults, but spent a long time with the younger people.

One thing that was brought up was that teens and parents are taught about drugs and alcohol in high school, but not depression. Teenagers do not know why they are feeling depressed, or that they are feeling depressed. Parents don’t know their teens are feeling depressed or if they are just going through a normal growing stage.

Yet the number of teenage suicides are growing. What does that tell us?

We need to get the word out about teenage depression – quickly. We need to teach our teenagers what depression is and how to get help for it. We are losing lives over it.

I know many times ADHD is diagnosed in a child when, as an adult it is changed to bipolar disorder. As a child, they are medicated and the medication makes it worse. The parents don’t know what is wrong. The problem is the wrong diagnoses.

Many Drs will not diagnose a child with bipolar disorder until they are older. An excellent book to read is “The Bipolar Child” by Dr Demitri Papolos, & Janice Papolos. It is a very easy to understand guide to a very hard to understand diagnosis. The book has a checklist, list of meds, symptoms, co-occuring disorders, etc. Very good. Check it out from the library first.

I have a child, young adult now, with bipolar disorder. She was 11 when diagnosed. I have another child with bipolar disorder. It is very hard to get Drs to treat. I have been very fortunate.

I would suggest if you have a child with wild mood swings and irritiblity, that you keep a mood journal on your child. That is what I do. I have for several years. A child tends to swing in their moods rapidly, unlike adults. They may swing several times a day, or day to day. Read the book. It will explain it all.

Our children need our help to get the care they need. Most of the time they don’t know what is happening to their bodies. They will act out. They are not “bad” children. They have a problem they need their parents to help them find treatment. Don’t just label them as bad and ignore it. Seek treatment until someone listens to you. Be persistant.

It is worth it. We don’t want to lose our children – either to institutions or to death. That is what can happen to untreated mental illness. Pay attention today and do something for your child.