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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Depression? Or something else?

 bethany723 - Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:29 am

Hi! I am a 16 year old female. Lately I haven't been feeling as much guilt, sadness, etc. as I used to. Even though this is true I am a happy person. For example: I scared my sister the other day while driving because of a close call and I didn't feel as bad as I normally would have. Also some things that would normally make me cry(i.e. movies) don't make me anymore. But no one would notice that anything is wrong. I do sometimes get irritable though. Also, I don't know if this has anything to do with it but I'm often tired and have a hard time rememebering things recently. My mom does have bipolar disease too if that helps. So basically I have lost a lot of my ablilty to "feel" I guess you could say. If you could let me know what you think could be wrong that would be great! Thank you!
 Dr. E. Seigle - Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:11 am

Dear Bethany723,

It sounds like you are an insightful, self-reflective person. It does sounds like you have feelings that sound related to depression (sadness, guilt) and some tendency to trouble accessing your feelings (numbness). These may be due to some of the stresses and emotional pain related to your Mom's emotional problem's, some other ways of coping that you may have adopted related to other difficult childhood or teenage experiences, and perhaps some genetic tendency toward having a mood disorder, depression or risk of bipolar disorder that you may have inherited from your Mom. A combination of these may at play as well.

I'm encouraged that you've been feeling less guilt lately, but it sounds like it would be a good idea for you to have a psychiatric evaluation to understand with you your feelings and relationships, your growing up, and other factors, in order to gain a thorough understanding of the causes of your depression-related feelings. A thorough evaluation usually takes about two 45 minute to 1 hour meetings with a trained adolescent clinician; it's important that the professional be experienced in working with teenagers. Then, based upon this evaluation, the professional can make recommendations to you, which may include psychotherapy, psychotherapy with medication, or no treatment. Be sure that the evaluator asks you a lot about your mother's illness- ask your Mom a lot about this if she's willing to discuss it. If medication is warranted, you may need two professionals, a psychiatrist to prescribe the medication and a therapist to do the psychotherapy. It can be best if you can find a psychiatrist who can do both with you. Try to avoid being prescribed medication without also having psychotherapy; this is almost always a bad idea and frequently is misunderstood as being adequate treatment.

You are courageous to be willing to look at these issues, and generally, talking about the truth "will set you free"- or at least be good! Good luck!

-Dr. Seigle

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