Monday, February 23, 2015

Depression and Your Child Review & Guest Post


About the Book:
Title: Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers Author: Deborah Serani Publisher: Rowman and Littlefield Pages: 232 Genre: Self-Help/Psychology, Parenting Format: Hardback/Paperback/Kindle
Purchase at AMAZON

Seeing your child suffer in any way is a harrowing experience for any parent. Mental illness in children can be particularly draining due to the mystery surrounding it, and the issue of diagnosis at such a tender age. Depression and Your Child is an award-winning book that gives parents and caregivers a uniquely textured understanding of pediatric depression, its causes, its symptoms, and its treatments. Author Deborah Serani weaves her own personal experiences of being a depressed child along with her clinical experiences as a psychologist treating depressed children.

2013 Gold Medal Book of the Year Award – IndieFab (Psychology Category)

2014 Silver Medal Book of the Year Award – Independent Publishing (Parenting Category)

For More Information

  • Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  • Watch book trailer at YouTube.

My Review: 

I am the mother of a teenage daughter that suffers from major depression. So when this book became became available I knew immediately I wanted to read it. Like many parents who children have been diagnosed with a disease I want to stay as informed as possible about the latest research, news, opinions.What interested me about this book was that the author herself also suffers with depression and suicidal ideations at a young age.

My daughter really loved the list at the back of the book that listed a couple hundred high-profile people that offer suffer with Bipolar and/or depression. Just seeing so many people that she holds in high regard that also suffer with an alignment really inspired her. I personally enjoyed and appreciated the wide list of resources  ranging from anti-bullying, self-harm, mental health, parenting resources, stigma's and tons of hotline resource numbers and websites. 

What really caught my attention was the author was not afraid to tackle some of the tougher subjects when it comes to dealing with children that suffer from any type of a disorder, particularly that of discipline. People seem to have this impression that to discipline means you have to cause some sort of physical pain to your child. That is NOT the case though. To discipline is to teach. Learning to set healthy boundaries and consequences helps your child on so many levels. It was refreshing to see an author address this and not shy away from it as so many do. She also addresses items such as co-parenting and making time for yourself. In a world where over 50% of marriages end in divorce learning ways to co-parent a child that suffers from depression is pivitol for the child's survival and each parent involved. 

I honestly can not give this book enough praise. You can tell from the moment you open and read the first page how deeply the author cares about this topic, how much time and research went into this book and how she really made sure to include everything a parent would want to know about depression and their child including a medication check list that tracks both the physical and emotional side effects of medications. This one tool is worth the price of this book alone, but don't take my word for it. Read the below excerpt and guest post and tell me what you think!

Book Excerpt:
When you held your child for the very first time, you were likely brimming with pride and joy. Your heart swelling with enormous love, you’re swept away with streams of thoughts for what your child needs in this immediate moment – as well as plans and dreams for the future.  You expect there to be wondrous adventures your child will experience, as well as bumps in the road along the way. And that’s okay you say, because you know that life isn’t always an easy journey.         

But one thing you probably never considered was how an illness like depression could take hold of your child.  And why would you? Up until recently, it was never believed that children could experience depression.  Long ago, studies suggested that children and teenagers didn’t have the emotional capacity or cognitive development to experience the hopelessness and helplessness of depression.                                                                                       
Today, we know that children, even babies, experience depression. The clinical term is called Pediatric Depression, and rates are higher now than ever before. In the United States alone, evidence suggests that 4% of preschool aged children, 5% of school-aged children and 11% percent of adolescents meet the criteria for major depression.
“Depression and Your Child” grew out of my experience of being a clinician who specializes in the treatment of Pediatric Depression.  I wanted to write a parenting book to raise awareness about depressive disorders in children, teach parents how to find treatment, offer tips for creating a healthy living environment and highlight important adult parenting matters such as self-care, romance and well-being.          
I also wrote this book because I have lived with depression since I was a child. As is the case with pediatric depression, my own depression didn’t hit with lightening like speed. It was more of a slow burn, taking its toll in gnaws and bites before hollowing me out completely.  After a suicide attempt as a college sophomore, I found help that finally reduced my depression. Until then, I accepted the sadness, despair and overwhelming fatigue “as the way my life just was.” I never realized, nor did my parents or any other adults, that I had a clinical disorder. I’ve since turned the wounds from my childhood into wisdom and believe that sharing the textures of my experiences will help parents realize what their own depressed child is going through.      
More than anything else, I want this book to offer hope. As a clinician, proper diagnosis and treatment can be life changing and life-saving. As a person living with depression, I have found successful ways to lead a full and meaningful life. I want parents and children who struggle with depression to feel this hope too – and in these pages, that’s what you’ll find.
I’m a teacher at heart. Just about everything I do in my personal and professional life has some aspect of nurturance to it. When writing, I want readers to be able to take what’s in these pages and apply them to their life. The chapters herein will give you all the necessary requirements needed to parent you child with depression with confidence and success.                           

You’ll learn about the normative patterns and stages of child development, from  physical, verbal, cognitive, emotional, and social development.  I’ll teach you how to observe your child, how to spot potential concerns and give you the insight needed to help diagnose depression. As you read further, I not only outline traditional treatments for pediatric depression, I delve deeply into holistic methods too. I’m a great believer that there’s more than one way to treat illness – and finding what works for you and your child will be vital. In the pages of this book you’ll also find how to tap school resources for additional support and what kinds of specialists you need to advocate for your depressed child. I discuss the scariest subject matter related to depression, suicide and self- harm, in a manner that is candid and frank, yet hopeful. I want parents to know what to expect from medication if it’s needed, from hospitalization if it’s necessary and what kinds of realistic expectations to have regarding what psychotherapy can and can’t do when it comes to depression.         
A significant emphasis in “Depression and Your Child” is making sure you, as a parent, carve out time for yourself and time for your love life. Chapters include tips for intact families, single parents and co-parenting arrangements, as well as caregivers who may need to plan for future caregiving for their depressed child.  And because stigma features strongly in the life of anyone who lives with mental illness, a section of myths, facts and ways to address such stigma is featured. Furthermore, a list of almost 400 high profile people, from athletes, actors, musicians, scientists and world leaders, will help you and your depressed child see that people who have depression can lead meaningful lives.   
To broaden the understanding of what’s covered in this book, I’ve included a case study at the end of each chapter.  Though the names and other identifying information have been changed to keep confidentiality, reading the stories of these selected cases will help you understand theories, treatments and techniques.      
Finally, worldwide resources to advocacy websites, mental health organizations, parenting associations, suicide hotlines and pharmacology agencies round out “Depression and Your Child,” making this truly a guide book for parents. 
About the Author
Dr. Deborah Serani the author of the award-winning books “Living with Depression” and “Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers.” She is also a go-to media expert on a variety of psychological issues. Her interviews can be found in ABC News, Newsday, Women’s Health & Fitness, The Chicago Tribune, The Daily Beast, The Associated Press, and radio station programs at CBS and NPR, just to name a few. She writes for Psychology Today, helms the "Ask the Therapist" column for Esperanza Magazine and has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. A psychologist in practice twenty five years, Dr. Serani is also a professor at Adelphi University.

For More Information

Is It Back to School Blues or Is it Something More?

Deborah Serani, Psy.D

Sometimes it can be after the weekend. Or a snow day. Or after a long vacation or summer break. Your child becomes irritable, clingy or even resistant to going back to school. So, how do parents know if their child is just experiencing the common back to school blues or if it’s something else? 

Some of the expected bumps in the road back for kids as they get back to the routine of school include difficulties with time management – like getting to bed early, waking up early, making sure a good meal starts the day, getting homework and studying done and not being short on school supplies. The hope is that, with practice – and your parenting guidance – your child falls back into the routine without too much of a hitch.  

But if you find that your child is struggling socially, academically or physically getting back to the school routine each and every time, you need to review these 3 areas:

1)      Situational versus Clinical Symptoms:  It’s important to determine if your child’s symptoms of fearfulness, worry, sadness or irritability are related to a situation going on at school – or if a clinical disorder might be operating. Situational symptoms occur because something is pressing on a child’s life (A test, a bully at recess). And when that situation goes away, the child returns to a sense of well-being.  Rule of thumb is to use the yardstick of 2 weeks if a child’s symptoms of anxiety or depression continue, and there doesn’t seem to be a situation related to it. If a child is experiencing stomach aches, headaches, crying, avoidance or temper tantrum for more than ten days, there may be a mental health concern. It’s vital to know that Pediatric mental health issues are not something that readily goes away on their own.

2)      Build a Team: Parents, teachers and school personnel should work together to evaluate the child’s emotional, academic and social experiences at school. If necessary, outside medical and mental health professionals should be added to the team. This is the best approach to determine if a clinical disorder like pediatric depression or anxiety is the reason why a child is struggling in school.

3)      Early Detection is Key: Studies show that early diagnosis of pediatric mental health issues are not just helpful in identifying illness. Emerging research shows that diagnosing early interrupts the negative courses of some mental illnesses, improves recovery and increases the likelihood of complete remission.
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