Coping with Depression in Young People: A Guide for Parents

Overview

Depressive disorders can produce dramatic and frightening changes in young peoples? behaviour, but while parents may suspect something is wrong, they are often at a loss to know what. This book shows parents how to tell the difference between the ordinary ups and downs and true depression, helping them better understand clinical warning signs and the various approaches to treatment. Dealing sensitively with how depression sometimes manifests itself?self-harm, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide attempts?the book ...
See more details below
Paperback
$20.50
BN.com price
(Save 10%)$22.99 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $15.69   
  • Used (11) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

Depressive disorders can produce dramatic and frightening changes in young peoples’ behaviour, but while parents may suspect something is wrong, they are often at a loss to know what. This book shows parents how to tell the difference between the ordinary ups and downs and true depression, helping them better understand clinical warning signs and the various approaches to treatment. Dealing sensitively with how depression sometimes manifests itself—self-harm, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide attempts—the book offers parents practical guidance on how they can reach out to their children and find professional assistance.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"…a guide for parents, a book long overdue and one which will be of enormous help…is especially valuable…" (Familyonwards.com, 19 February 2004)

"...concise ...useful to anyone working with children and young people experiencing depression..." (Child Right, May 2004)

“The strength of the book lies in it accessible style and numerous practical suggestions.” (Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Vol.10, No.2, May 2005)

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470857557
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/15/2004
  • Series: Family Matters Series , #3
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Professor Carol Fitzpatrick is Professor of Child Psychiatry at University College Dublin and a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the Mater Hospital and The Children's Hospital, Temple Street, in Dublin. She is author of many research papers about mental health in young people and has a particular interest in depression and self-harm in young people.

Dr John Sharry is Principal Social Worker at the Mater Hospital and is a Director of The Brief Therapy Group in Dublin. He is the author of four self-help books for parents, including Parent Power: Bringing up Responsible Children and Teenagers (John Wiley & Sons, 2003) and When Parents Separate: Helping Children Cope (Veritas, 2001). He is also the author of three psychotherapy books: Solution-focused Groupwork (Sage, 2001), Becoming a Solution Detective: A strengths-based Guide to Brief Therapy (BT Press, 2001) and the forthcoming Counselling Children, Adolescents and Families (Sage, 2004).
Both authors are experienced clinicians who have worked with many young people and their families coping with depression. They are joint authors of The Parents Plus Programmes, video-based courses for parents coping with a variety of emotional and behavioural difficulties in their children and teenagers, which are widely used in the UK and Ireland. See www.parentsplus.ie

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

About the authors.

Preface.

Acknowledgements.

1. What is depression?

What depression feels like.

How common is depression in young people?

Causes of depression.

Is depression in young people more common now than in the past?

What happens to young people with depression?

2. How to recognise depression in young people.

Which young people are most likely to get depressed?

Changes in mood and behaviour.

3. Depression in young people who already have difficulties.

Learning difficulties.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Conduct problems.

Asperger’s syndrome.

Conclusion.

4. Could it be due to something else?

Is it due to alcohol?

Could it be due to drugs?

A serious physical illness.

Sexual abuse.

Schizophrenia.

Eating disorders.

Bipolar affective disorder (manic depressive disorder).

5. Getting help.

Talking to others who know your child.

Help within the family.

Finding out what help is available.

Counselling.

Child and adolescent mental health services.

Communicating with your teenager about the need for further help.

Approaching your depressed child.

6. Treatment of depression.

Multiple approaches.

Therapeutic help for the young person.

Parent support.

Family therapy.

Medication.

Hospitalisation.

Day treatment programmes.

How long does it take?

7. What can parents do?

Supporting your teenager.

Dealing with discipline and conflict.

Keeping yourself going.

Helping your other children to cope.

Tackling family problems.

Conflicting advice from family members/friends.

What parents can’t do.

8. Suicide and self-harm.

Some myths about suicide.

Are there warning signs?

What to do if you suspect your young person is suicidal.

Coping with suicide attempts.

Dealing with discipline after a suicide attempt.

Dealing with self-cutting behaviour.

Suicide and alcohol.

9. Dealing with common problems.

Depression and school.

Depression and exams.

He won’t go for help.

Sleep problems.

Anger and aggression.

Depression and bullying.

10. Learning from young people who have recovered from depression.

The Working Things Out study.

What it felt like when they were depressed.

What they thought had caused them to feel the way they did.

What they thought had helped them to get through their difficult times.

Conclusion.

Interactive CD-ROM.

11. Depression – what does the future hold?

The statistics.

‘Good effects’ of depression?

The brain and depression – current research.

The future and your child.

Resources.

Index.

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Coping with Depression in Young People

A Guide for Parents
By Carol Fitzpatrick John Sharry

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-470-85755-2


Chapter One

What is depression?

Depression is an emotion we are all familiar with. A bleakness of thought, a feeling of irritation toward those closest to us, a sense of emptiness, a question about what life is for, an inability to feel joy or pleasure - most of us have gone through times in our lives when we have had some or all of these feelings. Mostly they occur when we are tired or overburdened, when we have had a row with someone close to us or when an important relationship is not going smoothly. We usually can explain to ourselves why we feel the way we do and can reassure ourselves that these feelings will pass. This is depression, the feeling, part of the vast range of normal emotion that makes us human and that is as much a part of our ordinary experience as is joy, anger, fear or happiness.

When we hear somebody described as being depressed, we imagine that we have an idea of how they are feeling, based on our own experiences. We expect that their feelings of depression are a reaction to something negative that is happening in their lives, and we expect them to try to get over their depression - 'to snap out of it'. This is what most people understand when they hear the term 'depression' being used.

When mental health professionals use the term 'depression', they usually mean a depressivedisorder, something that has some shared features with what is described above, but something that also has important differences. The term 'depressive disorder' implies that the person has a number of symptoms, including depressed mood, as described above, only usually to a much more profound degree, and they have what is called 'functional impairment' - in other words, they are handicapped in their ability to get on with life, to carry out their everyday life's activities. The classification systems used by mental health professionals in diagnosing depressive disorders are shown in Tables 1.1 and 1.2.

Many of the symptoms shown in Tables 1.1 and 1.2 are common in young people and probably in most of us from time to time, and do not mean we are suffering from a depressive disorder. What is important is the combination and severity of the symptoms and their effect on everyday life and the ability to function. In young people, irritability is often particularly marked, leading the young person to be in conflict with family, friends and teachers. This can lead to a vicious cycle of depression [right arrow] conflict [right arrow] further depression.

When depressed young people and those around them get into a vicious cycle like this, things can seem completely stuck. As a parent, you want to help your child, but you may feel angry and beaten back by his hostility or seeming indifference. It can feel as if there is no way forward. But there are ways of helping which can gradually 'unstick' situations like this, and these are dealt with in detail in the chapters ahead.

Classification systems for depressive disorders used by psychiatrists

Diagnosis of major depressive episode

Depressive disorders come in all grades of severity from mild disorders where the person may have the symptoms listed and be less efficient, less affectionate, less spontaneous than they usually are, to very severe disorders where the person may be unable to get out of bed, unable to communicate, unable to eat or drink, all of which may become a medical emergency. There are all sorts of grades between these two extremes. While there is no such thing as a typical case of depressive disorder in a young person, each case being somewhat different just as no two people are the same, the following case history is a good example of a young teenager with a depressive disorder.

Depression in children and adolescents usually has some of the above features but they may not always appear in the classical way described above. The reasons for this are many. Young people, particularly children, often do not have the language to describe how they are feeling. They experience the feelings, but are unable to describe them to others. Older children and adolescents may have the language, but are reluctant to talk about how they are feeling, often believing that others may think they are going mad, a fear they often have themselves. There are no words that can adequately describe some of the feelings experienced by some young people going through a depressive disorder, and it is only when they have recovered that they can describe what they have felt. The next section, 'What depression feels like', gives real life examples of descriptions by young people of how they felt when they were going through a depressive disorder. These examples are shown with the permission of the young people involved.

What depression feels like

Quotes from young people (see also Chapter 10 for further information and quotes on the experiences of young people):

It was like a dread inside, there all the time. When I was with my friends it would go away a bit, but it always came back. Jack, aged 15

I started worrying about everything, even things that never bothered me before. I was so worried about being asked a question in school that I used to feel sick in the mornings. Some days I just could not go to school. Nessa, aged 13

I was angry with everyone, they all annoyed me, particularly my mum who kept asking me what was wrong. Laura, aged 14

I couldn't face anyone, I don't know why. I wanted to be dead, it was in my mind all the time, I couldn't stop thinking about my death and being dead. At least then I would stop feeling like this. Sue, aged 15

Sometimes there'd be this feeling of being trapped, or perhaps overwhelmed. Other times there'd be a feeling of just being completely lost and not knowing what to do, and then the most frequent was probably one of complete and utter apathy for life, the universe and everything. David, aged 16

I got very fatigued. I'd stay in bed for ever really. I just felt absolutely lousy and I got awful stomach pains as well, and awful headaches. So that's how I felt. John, aged 15

How common is depression in young people?

Many research studies have been done which involve interviewing large numbers of ordinary young people and usually their parents as well. The interviews used are in-depth psychiatric interviews that allow a formal psychiatric diagnosis to be made. Studies of this type are fairly consistent in showing that about 5% of adolescents have a depressive disorder. This represents about 25 pupils in a secondary school with 500 pupils. Depression occurs in about 2% of older children and probably occurs in younger children, but accurate figures are not available for this age group. Depression occurs in children from all social backgrounds and is often associated with other emotional and behavioural problems. In childhood, depression seems to occur with equal frequency in boys and girls, but in adolescence it may be more common in girls. We are not sure about this, as adolescent boys are notoriously reticent about discussing their feelings with others and that includes the professionals who carry out research studies. It may be that adolescent boys are just as likely as girls to suffer from depression, but they show it in a different way (e.g., with more anger and impulsive hostility).

In childhood and adolescence, depression is usually unrecognised and untreated. The young person is often regarded as being moody, difficult, troubled or troublesome, but is rarely regarded as being depressed. This is partly because adults find it hard to imagine that children and adolescents could suffer from depression in much the same way as adults do, and partly because young people often express their pain in different ways to adults. Young people rarely complain of feeling depressed; they are more likely to complain of being fed up, bored or lonely. Or they may not complain at all, but instead act out their negative feelings, becoming hostile and aggressive to those who are often trying hardest to help them.

Causes of depression

There have been huge advances in research into the causes of depressive disorders in recent times, but we are still some way from having a clear understanding. There is no single cause for depression, but we know that in many situations there is an interaction between a genetic vulnerability and adverse life events. Many young people have a history in their families of depressive disorders in their parents, aunts, uncles or grandparents. A family history of depression does not necessarily imply a genetic basis. A child who has grown up with a depressed family member may respond to adversity by behaving as they have seen others around them behave and, thus, they are more prone to develop depression as a kind of 'learned behaviour'. However, research has shown that genetic factors play an important role in many types of depression. What seems to be inherited is not a single gene for depression but rather a genetic vulnerability. It is likely that many people carry this vulnerability, but they may never experience significant depression. This may be because they never have a combination of things going wrong for them at a particular time, or because they have, in addition to their genetic vulnerability, one or many protective factors. Protective factors in children include a stable relationship with at least one parent and a positive, confident temperament.

Adverse life events that may predispose young people to develop depression include losses of various kinds, such as loss of a parent through separation or divorce, loss of self-esteem through bullying, abuse or failure. Living in situations of family conflict or where a parent is him or herself struggling with a mental health problem, such as alcoholism or depression, may also predispose a young person to develop depression. Most young people with chronic physical problems, such as cystic fibrosis, chronic renal failure or diabetes, do not develop depression, but some do, particularly in adolescence when for the first time they fully appreciate the nature of their physical problems. Some acute illnesses, such as glandular fever, may precipitate depression in young people, as may some other viral illnesses.

Very conscientious, perfectionistic young people seem to be more prone to develop depression than their more easy-going peers, but depression can occur in young people with any type of personality. There is only very rarely a single cause that can be identified. More commonly, there are a number of adverse factors, some of which may seem trivial to an outsider, that predispose a vulnerable young person to develop depression.

Young people with long-standing behaviour problems, learning difficulties or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more prone than usual to depression, probably due in part to the many negative experiences such children have had. These experiences include difficulties with friendships, academic failure and constant criticism. The self-esteem of such children tends to be very low, often hidden under an aggressive, brash exterior. In Chapter 3 we consider these special difficulties in more detail.

Is depression in young people more common now than in the past?

That is a difficult question to answer because we do not know how common depression was in the past. It is only within the past 15 to 20 years that accurate estimates are available about rates of depression in young people. The number of young people being referred to services for treatment of depression seems to be increasing, but that could be due to many factors, including more services being available and families being more willing to seek help.

What happens to young people with depression?

The outlook is good for most young people with depression. The depression tends to lift, whether or not they receive treatment. A recent study of a group of teenagers with depression showed that the depression was no longer present 2 years after the initial diagnosis in 80% of the group. Many young people with depressive disorders do not suffer from depression again, but in others there is a tendency for it to recur, particularly at times of stress or change in their lives, such as when they leave home, have a baby, lose a job or experience a broken relationship. This is by no means inevitable, but it does mean that part of the treatment of depression involves helping the young person and their family to be aware of the early symptoms of depression so that, should it recur, they can take active steps early on to prevent it developing into full-blown depression.

In rare cases the depression recurs at regular intervals or alternates with periods of elevated mood, which is called bipolar or manic depressive disorder. This type of disorder can be greatly helped or even prevented from recurring by particular treatment approaches that are outlined in Chapter 4.

Suicide is the greatest fear of all parents of depressed young people. This is entirely understandable given the stark rise in suicide rates in young people, especially young men, in recent times. But remember, depression is very common while suicide is still rare. It is probably not possible to prevent anyone of any age from killing themselves if they are truly determined to do so, but there are ways of reducing the risk. As a parent there is a lot you can do to deal with the fear of suicide and this is dealt with in Chapter 8.

While most young people with depression recover, it can take a long time. Two years out of the life of a teenager, when so much could be happening for them in terms of friendships, schoolwork, sport and fun, is too long. In many situations, you as a parent can help greatly. You probably cannot make the depression go away, but you can take active steps to ensure that your son/daughter gets all the help they need and that you and the family are there to support them, while getting on with your own life in a way that gives a message of hope to your teenager.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Coping with Depression in Young People by Carol Fitzpatrick John Sharry Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)