Than Moody: Depression in Teens
to a recent report by the United States Surgeon General, approximately
3.5 million children and teenagers suffer from depression. Adolescents
who suffer from the disease may lose their capacity to feel
joy, overcome developmental hurdles, and cultivate the self-esteem
that will allow them to become happy, productive adults. At
worst, depression can result in severe isolation and a sense
of hopelessness that increases the risk of violence towards
others or towards themselves.
The Centers for Disease Control report that among high-school
age children in this country, there are an average of more than
1,000 suicide attempts a day. Despite the fact that depression
is a factor in most of these cases, 80 percent of depressed
teenagers get no treatment.
Clearly this is a public health problem of major proportions.
But how to distinguish between normal teenage angst and a treatable
In More Than Moody: Recognizing and Treating Adolescent Depression (G.P.
Putnam’s Sons; $25.95), Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, one of
the nation’s premier child and adolescent psychiatrists,
explores and illuminates an under-recognized but growing problem
in America today: depression among teenagers. Through his first-hand
experience as a clinician and researcher, Koplewicz helps parents
distinguish between normal teenage angst and true depression,
a serious psychological illness with important long-term consequences.
Dr. Koplewicz uses stories of real teenagers to show parents,
teachers, health care professionals—and young adults themselves—the
warning signs, risk factors, and key behaviors to look for.
Furthermore, he outlines the options for treatment, which have
broadened dramatically in recent years, with the expanded use
of SSRI anti-depressants for young people as well as advances
in such non-pharmaceutical approaches as cognitive behavior
More than Moody concludes with a look at the myths, facts and
controversies surrounding the treatment of adolescent depression.
Dr. Koplewicz provides the information needed to make informed
decisions about treatment options, including the increased number
of prescriptions of SSRI anti-depressants for use in treating
young people, and presents cases in which various treatments
have worked especially effectively. He examines the misconceptions
that stigmatize teens that take psychiatric medications, and
explores the public’s almost universal belief that teenagers
should only turn to medication after psychotherapy fails,
explaining why it is based on outdated information. He looks
at the encouraging results of specific, symptom-oriented treatments,
including non-pharmaceutical approaches such as cognitive behavioral
therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT), and analyzes
the latest studies comparing the effectiveness of medicine versus
therapy. Above all he reflects on the role parents must play
as advocates for their children, and the partnership that must
exist between the parent, the teen, and the clinician.
Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D., is the founder and director of the
New York University Child Study Center, and the Arnold and Debbie
Simon Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Vice-Chairman
of the Department of Psychiatry and Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
and Pediatrics at the New York University School of Medicine,
and Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
at the Bellevue Hospital Center. A multiple award-winning psychiatrist,
he was named one of “America’s Best Mental Health
Experts” by Good Housekeeping magazine, one of America’s
top doctors by Castle Connolly, and one of the “Best Doctors
in New York” by New York magazine.
Widely known as an advocate for children with mental illnesses,
he is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Child and Adolescent
Psychopharmacology. He is the author of It’s Nobody’s
Fault: New Hope and Help for Difficult Children and Their Parents.
Dr. Koplewicz lives in Manhattan with his wife and their three
More Than Moody: Recognizing and Treating Adolescent Depression
By Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D.
Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001.
Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919.Email: email@example.com.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express
consent of the publisher. © 2002.