Sunday, February 8, 2015

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Deborah Serani, author of Depression and Your Child

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
About the Book:

 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.

Thank you for joining us at the book club today, Deborah!  Can we begin by you telling everyone what gave you the idea to write your fantastic book, Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers?

Deborah: Actually, my publisher asked me to write a book about pediatric depression, so I was happy to work on it. Being someone who lived with depression as a child, I knew about this illness personally - and I knew having the expert experience as a psychologist would give readers a unique view into this mood disorder. "Depression and Your Child" teaches readers what pediatric depression looks like, how to treat it and how to manage it recovery is reached.

I guess the million dollar question would be how can you tell if your child is depressed?

Deborah: Simply stated, "duration." Children and teens all go through sad, bad and irritable moods from time to time, but when a disorder is present, the timeline for these symptoms is a chronic one. This means that your child demonstrates sadness, irritability, negative thinking and fatigue for at least two weeks or more. Pediatric depression doesn't go away on its own. Like many chronic illnesses, it requires attention and management.

Once diagnosed, how can you help your child overcome depression?

Deborah: The most important thing a parent can do is to become educated about pediatric depression. The more you read about mood disorders in children, the more you'll be able to make informed decisions about your child's treatment and recovery. Science tells us that depression is a real illness. So, make sure you don't blame yourself if your child has a mood disorder or shame your child for not being able to snap out of it.

In your experience, are there a lot of cases of childhood depression among the children of today?

Deborah: Anxiety and depressive disorders are definitely on the rise today. The quality of living in many industrialized countries has gotten harder, not easier. And as a result, the stress presses on children, adults and families that leads to more mental health concerns. The good news is that upwards of 80% of children who get treatment for depression recover. The key is getting these at risk children identified and to specialists so that treatment can begin.

What are some of the worse case scenarios of child depression that you have seen or heard of?

Deborah: The worst case scenarios have been witnessed in the media. From teen suicides, to gun violence, untreated depression can be deadly. The neurobiology of depression shifts brain functioning in serious ways, making the area responsible for problem solving sluggish and slow. As a result, corrosive thinking occurs in children which can lead to self harm or the harming of others if left untreated. This is what makes depression one of the most lethal of mental disorders. The hardest part is getting diagnosed because stigma (the experience of being singled out as odd or different) keeps many from getting treatment. The more we can educate the public that depression, like cancer, diabetes or heart disease, is an illness, NOT a result of a weak character or laziness, will help release the shame people feel about mental illness. Recovery from pediatric depression is possible. I'm a living example of how diagnosis, treatment and recovery can be managed successfully.

Thank you again for enlightening us about child depression, Deborah.  What’s next for you in regards to books?

Deborah: A children's picture book "Sometimes When I'm Sad" is in the press, and I'm putting the finishing touches on a Geriatric Depression book. I'm super proud to be an author who has covered depression across the life span and a specialist who can talk about treatment recovery for all ages.

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