One in eight high school students is depressed. But depression in teenagers can be deceptive, and authorities estimate that a huge number of depressed teens are undiagnosed. Adults may mistake symptoms as "typical" teen angst, anger, or anxiety. Or the teen may mask the symptoms with high-energy activity.
For parents who suspect their teen is depressed, the system often fails the family. Insurance coverage for treatment ends too soon, there's a months-long wait to see an adolescent therapist, or long-term follow-up is insufficient.
This means parents must take charge of their child's health to reinforce, extend, and monitor treatment and its aftermath. The good news is they can do it—because parents know their child best.
Although a medical doctor, Dr. Berlinger initially missed the signs of his own son's depression. By combining his parental love with his scientific skills, he developed a set of techniques to lead his son out of depression. Now he shares his 10 Parental Partnering Strategies to help parents rescue their teen from depression—based on his own experiences, nearly 100 interviews with parents of depressed teens, and interviews with mental health professionals.
Increasingly, doctors are asking parents to partner with them to help children get healthy and stay healthy. Partnering has been proven effective in the treatment of other serious emotional illnesses such as anorexia nervosa.
Parents can use Dr. Berlinger's strategies to help distinguish depression from moodiness; be alert to suicide risk; monitor medication effectiveness; help the teen combat negative thinking; organize activities to offset depression; and spot signs of relapse during tense times in their child's life, including exams, relationship breakups, or starting college or a job.
Both a family survival story and a practical guide, this book affirms parents' unique power to help teens overcome depression.
About the Author:
Norman T. Berlinger, M.D., Ph.D., is a bioethicist and a pathologist, following a distinguished career as a surgeon. He writes on health issues and has been published in Discover, the New York Times, Men's Health, and elsewhere. He lives in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
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