Wednesday, February 11, 2015

In the Spotlight: Depression and Your Child by Deborah Serani





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

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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)

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.  

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