6 yo old diagnosed with depression (specifically dysthimic disorder)
Ok, so some of you read my post about DD's behavior problems. So, I took her to the ped. he referred her to a pscyhologist. We filled out a gazillion questionnares about her behavior, had the school fill one out. I had one appt with him WITH dd there and one appt withOUT her there so we were able to discuss in depth her problems. He said he feels she has dsythimic disorder (for those who don't know it's like a milder depression but it runs constantly in the background and wears you down). He wants to do therapy with her to teach her how to open up and talk about things...possibly art therapy. He has referred her to a pschiatrist which I'm pretty sure the psych will want to prescribe medicine. I'm not a big advocate for psychiatric medications in young children unless it's a LAST resort.
Has anyone had any experience with psychiatric disorders in young children. Any advice on how to help her, how to handle this? This is another reason I am most likely going to quit my job to be a sahm mom. I feel it will allow me time to rejuvenate and be able to destress so I am able to deal with outbursts and major tantrums in a calmer, more productive way. It will give me more time to spend working with her as well.
The psychologist said he feels her prognosis is good and because we are treating her early she will probably not have any major problems functioning in life when she gets older. Does anyone know of any good books, websites, chatrooms, forums (besides here, the depression forum doesn't seem to get much traffic) relating to mental health issues in small children?
Any suggestions or advice would definately be appreciated. It's pretty overwhelming to be told your 6 yo is depressed :(
I don't know anything about depression in young kids in general, but would encourage you not to label all possible prescriptions as "psychiatric medications" and to turn them all down. I have heard of a very small dose of anti-anxiety medicine making a huge difference. It has to do with improving the ability to get the benefit of the body's natural serotonin, or something like that. Besides, there will be a give-and-take discussion throughout her treatment, and if something is doing no good, you will be able to make a decision to change it.
I'm not opposed to medication in general...I take antidepressants and DH takes antidepressants and a mood stabiliar (no wonder DD has issues...they do they say it's genetic) I'm just against using it as a first course of treatment. I also know that these types of medications alter the chemicals in your brain and I don't feel it's good to do that unnecessarily to a brain that is still developing.
DH and I talked about the possibility of medications and we both agree that first and foremost we are going to wait until DD has had several visits of therapy with the pscychologist and after I have quit my job and been home and had more time with her for awhile. She seems so much happier when I am able to take time with her and go to school functions and stuff. I just want to be sure that this isn't a case of reading more into her behavior than necessary. Does that make sense?
Not that I don't believe the psychologist but I do know that docs can be wrong...while she may be depressed she may also just be screaming out for attention but only making some changes and time will tell us that. Especially since there is no specific tests that can be done for depression. I want to see if getting her to open up will improve her behavior/attitude before we even consider turning to medicine. I've known too many parents to give meds to their kids becuase doc said it was best to start with that and it just messed the kid up more. It happened to my brother as well. Fortunately my mom finally put her foot down and took charge of what she felt was best and he is now a perfectly normal healthy functioning almost 39 yo warrant officer/pilot in the army.
BTW the lable "psychiatric medications" was for lack of a better way of saying "stuff that a psychiatrist would prescribe" LOL :)
Just so you don't think that someone on, say, a small dose of Zoloft is automatically a tranqued-out zombie. LOL
I agree that with a child's brain still in development, you want to tread cautiously. But it also can be true that a small medication dose gets such fast results and the child feels so much better that you don't want to overlook the possibility. That's all I was trying to say. I have a pal with a very, very depressed husband, and when I suggested antidepressants, she said, "But what if he got ***dependent*** on them?" with fear in her voice. She was thinking of narcotics, I guess. SSRIs are not like that, but you are smart to be sure all your questions are answered about their effects on a child's developing brain for sure.
my son suffered from depression as a result of divorce. we found a therapist that had years of experience working with kids, and after a year or a bit longer of weekly therapy, he was able to stop treatment and was doing great! he is 11 now and has been out of therapy for maybe almost 2 yrs. this year he started 6th grade and his teacher works the heck out of them. i am noticing his behaviour change a bit, but i also attribute it to early puberty (already has body hair and mood swings!).
im very fearful of putting kids on meds. from what i have read is it can cause the situation to become worse. if they take the meds, can they really learn the tools they need or are the medicated and not care? do your research, i know you will and good luck!! it will be ok, its just so scary right now.
My now 10 year old DD suffered with pretty severe depression at that same age. She also had suffered from compulsive disorder (hand washing and fear of germs) I am not a believer of mind altering med's especially in children. We found a GREAT counselor that she saw a couple times a week for about 1 year, and now all symptoms are gone. The counselor got to the root of the problem instead of masking it w/ meds. We still watch her for signs of returning symtoms (symptoms), but I feel she has turned that corner. I am sure you will be able to get your DD back on track. Stay positive and find a great counselor!
AnnieBrooke: Thank you! I AM open to the possibility of medication BUT only after we have tried other options. As I said *I* am on antidepressants and i know you have to find the right "fit" the first one I was on (lexapro) pretty much made me an emotional zombie...i didn't feel much of anything...but now on Zoloft I feel it is working SOOO much better. I believe she DOES have some depression but I want to make SURE that the majority of her behavior is not just an attention getting kind of thing, kwim? When my mom was here visiting and she was giving abby attention and letting her help with things and doing crafts her behavior was TOTALLY different. So I want to explore that possibility too before we delve into the realm of meds.
PertyKitty: I agree. I want to see how just therapy helps her to begin with. I don't think medication shoudl be the first line of defense so to speak in children.
jewell1117: Thanks. It's encouraging to hear successful stories or kids getting better. I'm going to give this psychologist some time and see how he handles her and what if any progress is made...if after several visits I feel we aren't getting anywhere I will find another counselor (preferably closer...we are driving an hour each way to see him )
I am going to make an appt with a psychiatrist and go in with an open mind but also knowing that I will NOT agree to BEGIN her treatment with medication but that I may consider it later down the road if no progress is being made otherwise.
I have made up my mind to quit my job and become a sahm. I hope that by me having more time to relax and get caught up on everything i need to do that I can become a calmer individual and will be able to keep a more even keel when dealing with her tantrums and rages. I also hope that spending more time with her/giving her more of the attention she wants will help improve atleast SOME of her behaviors. While financially it will be a bit tighter on us, we've discussed ways to cut back and lower bills etc. We (dh and i) both agree that it will probably be better for us as a family ...less hectic/stressful/crazy. I guess we will see. I think I will be putting in my notice for my last day to be Nov 12th.
good for you!! i think you staying home right now will make a huge difference in your dd. i became a sahm (well worked while he was in school) around the time my ds started therapy and i do believe it made a huge difference in him. im sorry things seem like such a stress right now, but it will all be ok!!
I agree staying home will be best for you and DD. The more consistancy and less stress the better. FYI- my DD had a easier time when she was seeing a female counselor. It was easier for her to talk to and less intimidating. Just a suggestion.
Have they tested your daughter for any food allergies? Sometimes that can cause depression symptoms and tantrums. Sugar can cause tantrums and crying because when a child's blood sugar goes down they can feel sad. The strangest thing happens when my 4 year old son eats Saltine crackers. He starts crying real tears and has tantrums on the floor. Even though he has no food allergies I found out there is something in those crackers that affects him.
I think Art Therapy would be wonderful for your daughter. Also, friends can bring alot of joy to a depressed person.
I think being a sahm would be great for the both of you. Just make sure you don't get depressed staying home and maybe go to a support group during the day or do a social activity during the day.
Have you found out if something traumatic has happened to your daughter?
That you for the suggestion of the food allergies. I do know that certain additives, food colorings etc can trigger certain behaviors in some kids. Hadn't thought about the food allergy thing.
As far as I know there hasn't been anything traumtic....other than from 2006-2007 DH and i seperated and actually divorced...but we got back together less than a month after the divorce was final and things have been 20 times better than before. We were seperated and doing the whole he got the kids every other weekend thing for about a year. Then in august of last year our youngest was born.
If there was anything else, then I'm not aware of it.
How has she accepted the new little guy? I used to work with children that were "Emotionally Disturbed". I remember one little boy telling me over and over again that his mom loved his sister more.
We are having a new addition and I have a 4 year old son. One of the docs suggested that we have special time set aside for only my 4 year old and that we give him a little job in taking care of the baby. I recommend that for you and your little girl.
I know this is a sensitive subject, but have you asked her about molestation?
Daily sunlight is also good for lifting depression.
I think dance would be good for your daughter. It brings confidence, self-esteem, and friends. A class would be good or a DVD. Dance is really good for people with "mental illnesses". I know because I struggle with bi-polar.
I think your pediatrician should check for food allergies and also vitamin deficiencies. As adults if we are low in B vitamins it can cause depression.
How wonderful that you worked things out with your hubby. Same thing happened to us.
I wanted to share this article with you on depression- it's for adults, but insightful. It talks about food allergies and a person who would fly into a psychotic rage because they were allergic to bananas.
I tried to do some research on dysthimic disorder, but there was not much out there. I'll look for more info in my textbooks, I majored in Child Development.
Here is the link to the article, let me know how you like it. www.cancertutor.com/other/depression.htm
Thank you! The thought of molestation crossed my mind, but I really don't see where it could have happened unless at school....she hasn't been in daycare for over a year. She stopped going to daycare about a month before our youngest DS was born. Her behavior didn't start really getting bad until about 5 or 6 months ago (ds is 14 mos). She seems to be fine with him. When she is saying how much she hates us...she says she hates us all BUT Gabe. She has said that we love zach or alex (5 yo and 13 yo) more but that's rare...it's usually just "ya'll don't love me,ya'll hate me"
I know the doc has said she's depressed and I'm going to make sure she gets therapy becuase I know it can only help. I will NOT agree to medication any time in the near future without making MAJOR efforts otherwise. I will be discussing the food thing with my mom. She knows a lot about that. I had allergies to more things than not as a baby/toddler...my brother was also adhd and had issues from being molested, rather than medicate him she went with the feingold diet. It seemed to help tremendously. This was back in the 70's and at one point they wanted to institutionalize my bro and she refused...she continued therapy and the feingold diet and he is now about to turn 38 and is a warrant officer/flight instructor and right hand man to his unit commander in the army. So it obviously worked for him.
I put in my notice at work yesterday. Nov 5th will be my last day. As it is now we eat a lot of fast food and microwave meals which I know contain a lot of preservatives and stuff. So I want to see how she will do when I start limiting certain things and giving her healthier meals.
Do you have any suggestions on books or websites where I can learn more about the foods/preservatives/food colorings that trigger these kinds of behaviors?
I do have my moms old cookbooks from when she was using the feingold diet.
OH, and we don't have her dance class (too expensive here) but we did recently start her in Baton Twirling at her school. She's still not too sure of it but has only been 3 times. Ialso like that the teacher doens't want the parents VISIBLE during practices becuase it distracts the kids...but she encourages us to peek and watch them :)
ANother thing about Abby is that she doesn't exhibit any of these behavior problems at school....occasionally she talks to much or gets out of her seat but that's rare.
I found this site that talks about allergies to foods and ADD, it does recommend the Feingold diet your mom used.
Go to Born to Explore then - What is ADD? They list food allergies that cause behaviors and they have a really good list of what to feed your child and "forbidden" foods.
These are two books that would be good for you:
"Is this Your Child? Discovering and Treating Unrecognized Allergies in Children and Adults"
"The Edison Trait: Saving the Spirit of your Free Thinking Child in a conforming world"
It's fun to go on Amazon.Com and read what all the positive things the parents have said about the books.
Wow, the story about your brother is amazing.
The baton twirling class sounds fun for her!
My son is in pre-school and sometimes he has behavior problems at home and not at school the doc said it's because they have to "control" themselves sooooooo much when at school and then when they come home they don't want to listen anymore.
That is so wonderful that you can stay home with your daughter. There are lots of community classes that are Mommy and Me classes. Here in CA there are some free classes there are probably some where you are at too.
She's blatantly defiant, screams that she hates us, she hates herself, wants to get rid of us or herself, she wants to die, calls herself stupid and a jerk and an idiot. She deliberately does things she KNOWS she isn't supposed to do. She makes up things to get her siblings in trouble. She lies, steals, destroys things.
Thanks for the website/book recommendations I will definately check them out.
My daughter did the same. First know she doesn't hate you! She just can't sort all the jumbled up feelings inside. Unfortunately, you are her safe place to fall. She does not show this behavior in school, because she knows they won't tolerate it. Once she starts getting coping mechanisms and learns to start to love herself things will turn around pretty quickly. My DD counselors would have her say positive affirmations about herself every am/pm. At first she didn't believe them, the oneday her lightbulb went off. I am Beautiful, Special and worthy of Love! Your DD will get there too. Hang in!
Thanks. Yeah I know she doesn't really mean it. It's really hard not to be hurt by it though. When she says she hates me I try to just matter of factly tell her "that's ok, I still love you" and I also try to tell her that I will ALWAYS love her and that there is NOTHING in this world she could do to make me STOP loving her. I know she's also probably trying to push limits. She thinks so badly about herself that she feels everyone else does/should too and she feels there is a limit to our love. She thinks that if she keeps misbehaving we will eventually reach that limit. Its really frustering trying to figure out HOW i'm supposed to react to these things.
It sounds like you are doing a really great job! Keep up the good work and try to stay positive. Things were so broke between my daughter and myself that I never thought they could be fixed. I was so wrong! We have our moments now and again, but it is a complete 180 from five years ago. She is a absolute pleasure to be around and I love to see when she is happy and smiling (What a relief!) Your day will be here soon as well :-)
Hello. I completely agree with you on the meds situation. My 7yr old sons school has been trying to convince me to get him on meds for ADHD since kindergarten. Yes at age 5. I thought it was insane. He is now 7 and still having problems. We have tried everything with the school and are at a loss. I went to his pediatrician last week and got a referral for a psychiatrist. It's time to go out side the school. I dont feel a school is qualified to diagnose my son. I am just so worried. The stress of his behavior and having the school calling me every day about his behavior is getting unbearable. I did not want to medicate him because of the things I have heard about the meds for ADHD. I have tried to do some research but I am just so worried and I dont know what to do for him anymore.
The hardest part is that you can see he get upset and frustrated with his own behavior......he just cannot control it. I know its not the same as depression.....maybe it is and the school just keeps blaming ADHA which seems like they do with every child whose behavior they dont like. I really feel like he has been labled. This is a very difficult and frustrating thing.
I feel like it is my fault and that I have failed him as a mother. Now I just dont know how to fix it. Sorry for the vent......
First, it is NOT your fault. That is one of the FIRST things the psychologist told me about my DD. I look at it like this...I have 4 kids...3 of them DO NOT act like that...only ONE does...Since I treat them all the same way...it only stands to reason that it is something within the child, not necessarily what I am doing wrong. Granted, I know there are ways I can handle her better...but she was born head strong..no questiona bout it.
I agree that it's best to see someone outside the school.. I would suggest you see a psychologist. They can do counseling and work with them to see if that helps. Psychiatrists don't ALWAYS prescribe medicine but more often than not they do.
Something else you should seriously check into is what AthenaM suggested....the whole food triggered behavior thing. It's one thing I will be putting in a lot of research on and talking to my mom about. My brother had severe ADHD and other problems. My mom had him medicated on ridlin for awhile...but she realized it made him a zombie. She took him OFF the meds and started changing his diet and taking him to therapy. While he did continue to have some behavior problems throughout childhood and teen years he isnow doing very well. Married for 7 yrs...flight instructor in the army...a warrant office at that. So, there IS hope.
If you need to vent more, please feel free to PM me....we can commisurate with each other :D
Here are some books to read that I highly recommend:
The Myth of the A.D.D. Child 50 ways to Improve Your Child's Behavior and Attention Span Without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. This book is the best I have ever read. It has 50 chapters like Providing a Balanced Breakfast, A list of Music that helps children with anger, hyperactivity, and relaxation and Considering the Feingold Diet. It has a list of over 100 activities that your child may be interested in.
For children to read with parents. By Joy Berry. She has a series of 27 books with cartoon drawings of little kids. The title I recommend is Let's Talk about "Throwing Tantrums" I have seen this book actually change a child's tantrums. Other titles are Stealing, Lying and Being Mean.
Check out the library for these books or Amazon.Com
Thanks! I am definately going to be checking on all these recommendations you made. Especially about the food allergies and that series by Joy Berry. Abby is at the age where she is learning to read and likes it so maybe that will be an excellent tool for me to use. She and I are counting down the days til I get to stay home. I asked her this morning if she knew how many more days and she's perks up with "TWENTY TWO" lol!
Thanks! I'm all for working moms and I'm all for SAHM when you can. I believe it should be based on each family's individual needs. I know it's gonna be tight financially....but I believe that for right now this is the best for us.
Yes, your girl will love the Joy Berry series. The book has cartoon drawings like a comic strip where the characters talk to each other and a short little segment for the parent to explain what is happening to the child. I think it is a very powerful series of books. Please let me know what you and your daughter think.
I think it is wonderful to be a stay at home mom. I would recommend Mother's clubs in your area where you cant take all your kids to the park and talk with other moms.
That is so cute that your little girl is counting down the days until you stay home! Just establish a good daily routine that the kids can look forward to, it will really help them and you.
I'm been looking into the feingold diet and other "elimination" type diets/programs. It seems like everyone wants money for the program information. Fortunately I DO have my moms old Feingold books from the 70's ...the principles are probably still basically the same. I never would have thought to check out toothpaste!!!!!!!
This is going to be a lot of work, but if it helps it's worth it. I have noticed that a lot of the foods they list on the "elimination" lists are ones that she loves....pickles, cucumbers, tomatoes, peanut butter....
I could spend $500 just on all the books I want to get LOL I'm gonna have to get them in moderation though especially with us cutting out my income. I've been watching ebay and amazon for them. I'll be checking craigslist as well.
See this link to the book "Why can't my child behave?" It's around $20. It has a sample menu plan of the updated Feingold diet. Read the reviews from different parents. One parent said everyone was asking what medicine she put her child on, but it was just a diet change. One parent says that for $75 a year you can get recipes and information about diet change.
Doing better, thanks for checking in. She hasn't been back to the pscyhologist yet. I have tried to contact him to schedule her next appt and have not received a response. I also have not been able to get an appt with a psychiatrist, but I've pretty much stopped trying. Since I have told DD that I am quitting work and will be staying home, her behavior has improved tremendously believe it or not. I've also been trying very hard to not make empty threats but to carry out whatever punishment she is warned of. Now instead of having several episodes a day...we actually have only a couple a day and sometimes a day without any at all. It's actually kind of weird, it makes me afraid that this is like the calm before the storm lol. We will see though.
I think I have found out what has been causing her stomach aches though....I discovered last night taht she has what I believe are pinworms.
If she talks about wanting to die even if it is out of anger and her not meaning it that is serious! I would quiet your job and really do things with her that she enjoys nad try to get her involved in an activity and alone time with you. I think you need to find the problem of her behavior as apposed to treating the symptoms per say. I was on depression and ADD meds as a child and I will tell you that 100% of meds affect children differnet and ahve the risk of suicidal thought and behaviors. THey are not tested on children even if used and do not effect them like they do us by any means. i whtink you need to look up standard process, it is a food suppliment, find a practitioner near yu and have her tested for what she needs. Her brain is obviously lacking in something. All my children have been through alot and my were molested at their fathers house by a step sibling. My son has suffered from post tramatic stress since he was 2. It was the learning to help him in the right manner and being with him for securtiy to process it all that helped him. A counselor will do better for that then a phyciatrist! The phycistrist only goes for the brain and meantl part and a counsleor helps the emotional part and treats the child as a whole rather then just the brain. Depression yes can be inherited but at her young age is very unlikely! You said it started about 5-6 months ago. You need a time line as to events and things that changed even bed times and the weather! She needs to be reasured that all her feelings are OK and safe as long as she does not act on them. Set bounderies and let her vent in a safe manner. She will melt many times but she will get better! Art therapy is great for children and play therapy!!!!! Also you can have her draw things for you of things she does not like and things she enjoys. Keep it all to discuss with the counselor! Let her be a part of her therapy and help her help herself. At that age their emotions are not developed and she needs the tools to deal and cope with stres in life and learn how to talk and not bottle things in. Acting out is the way children express things you just have to help them learn to talk. They might not always know what is bothering them but they can learn to identify. Children also will act out if they feel like they can not control somthing in theri life that is bothering them. They will control what they can in a way they relate. Once you get to the bottom of it things will get better and mesd will not be an issue. With meds she will not be able to process what is upseting her and learn how to cope beasue her brain will be deadened to emotions!
Hey! Thakns for the reply. Since I originally posted that this has what's happeend. The psychologist she was seeing was a moron, I couldn't even get him to call me back to schedule another appt. Since we live in a small town we are limited in who we can choose. So, she stopped seeing him, he hadn't really started any type of therapy yet anyway. I quit my job at the beginning of November and we started her in Baton classes. Since I have started staying home, she has a little more time with me, she is also getting in bed on time so she's getting more sleep. She is a completely different child. She still has problems handling/expressing her anger. But its usually just "i hate yous " or "I hate this family" or "i wanna pack my bags and leave" I haven't heard any of the comments about dying or hurting herself in several months. I've been working on trying to help her handle her anger. She still needs improvement but she has come a long way in the last several months with just the changes of me staying home.
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