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Summary: Gotta Start Somewhere
Review: Although adult depression has been recognized for decades, childhood depression has only been considered since the 1980's. Previously, it was simply thought that children couldn't be depressed. Perhaps this is because (as is learned from this book) the lethargy and weepiness that adults and adolescents experience during depression, in children is often expressed as hostility. The depressed children may in fact be the troublemakers and the discipline problems.
This book reports on few case histories, but because only twenty years of research are behind this subject, that isn't surprising. Most of the descriptive text looks at the stages of childhood depression, and what to expect from various treatment options. The authors do suggest that while several stressful situations such as parental divorce, or placement in foster care can lead to childhood depression, in most cases, there will be no single, obvious, precipitating factor, and parents should not look for one.
More than once, the authors state that depression is not the fault of the parents, or the result of bad parenting. Of course, what are they going to say, if they want parents to buy their book? Parents don't want to be blamed. At any rate, if they are voluntarily looking for help, the family is probably at a point where placing blame will not solve anything, so the authors are undoubtedly correct in this approach. The problem is that this approach appears to slant the book toward physiological causes of depression almost to the exclusion of environmental factors.
Nonetheless, the information presented is readable, clear, and written in a soothing narrative voice. Just reading the book may give relief to parents who are concerned about a child.
The book neatly describes external symptoms of childhood depression, offering a great deal of help to parents and people who work with children in identifying children who may be depressed. Much of the book is given over to choosing a therapist. This is so thoroughly commendable, I don't know where to begin, because it is not uncommon for people to walk into a therapist's office, and immediately turn over all their power. This book will help families hold onto themselves until they are certain they have the right person, not just for the child but for the whole family.
I would recommend this book over most of the others addressing this topic.
Summary: Most Comprehensive Book for Parents with Depressed Teens
Review: Dr. Fassler and Miss Dumas do an amazing job at organizing this book in the most efficient manner. The doctor with utmost clarity lists the symptoms of depression for each age group up to and including young adulthood. He does justice to new research revealing that symptoms may be dependant upon the patient's age. Moreover, he highlights the long-avoided fact that even toddlers can suffer from clinical depression. He also briefly examines the various related affective disorders common among young people and how they can be detected also. The chapter on suicide and suicide recognition and prevention is well-written in that it provides all the vital information without going into graphic details. In addition to discussing all forms of treatment types, schools of thought, and classes of mental healthcare professionals in an easily understandable manner, the doctor offers pragmatic advice on seeking help for the child and the child's family. All too often the devastating effects of depression on other family members are ignored with tragic consequences. Dr. Fassler makes sure that this point is stressed. He also helps the reader choose a good therapist and treatment plan for his/her child. Finally, he discusses ways in which depression can be prevented, and how good parenting can affect the child's chance of growing up to become a healthy adult. The only thing I found disappointing was Dr. Fassler's bias towards the physiological nature of affective disorders. Understanding the biochemical aspects of depression is crucial in effectively treating the illness for much of the symptoms are linked to somatic disorders in the brain.
Review: I found this book to be very informative and highly recommend it to anyone concerned with how "sad" or withdrawn their child is.
Summary: A reassuring and thorough guide for parents and pros.
Review: If you're the parent of a depressed child -- or think you might be -- this is a must-read. It's a reassuring, gentle but completely informative guide to all aspects of childhood depression. The part I liked best? How to get help for your child. It includes the best discussion of medications and other treatments I've ever read. This book makes an extremely sensitive, scary and complex subject easy to understand.
Summary: A valuable resource for families of depressed children
Review: This is a very valuable book for families of depressed children, and I highly recommend it. It contains essential information, thoroughly and clearly covered. One section I particularly liked discussed the effect a depressed child has on family members and family dynamics.
"Help Me, I'm Sad" first addresses diagnosing depression in a child, including what I had never seen before: symptom lists specific to children at different stages of childhood, infants to teenagers. Companion illnesses that might indicate depression are also discussed as part of the diagnosis section.
The treatment section covers how to find effective treatment, whether therapy, medication or both, including questions to ask a potential therapist. The last section, on preventing depression, contains suggestions on how to raise an emotionally resilient child. All in all, a complete, compassionate resource for parents and others who have a depressed child in their lives.
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