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Children and Depression

The Suicide of My Son: The Story of Childhood Depression
The Suicide of My Son:
The Story of Childhood Depression

After the suicide death of her teenage son, Ben, author and lecturer Trudy Carlson sheds light into the little-understood symptoms of depressive illness and anxiety disorders in youngsters.

Using her son's dual conditions as examples, she takes a reasonable, no-fault approach to explain the biological nature of these conditions, and maps out a low-cost, effective school based program for recognizing and treating school-aged youth.

The correlation between depressive illness and teen suicide is examined.

A fresh approach and practical guide for parents and teachers everywhere.

by Trudy Carlson



March 1995



Author's Site

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Why I wrote this book
Chapter 2 May 31, l989:
From the day he died to the funeral
Chapter 3 Infancy:
Difficulty with eating and sleeping as early indicators
Chapter 4 Preschool Years:
Prone to accidents, high activity level, difficulties with peers, bedwetting and self-esteem issues
Chapter 5 Early School Years:
Inability to concentrate, speech peculiarities, cognitive looseness, oppositional defiance, frequent illnesses, motivational issues, angry and irritable
Chapter 6 Upper Elementary Years:
Becoming disheartened, attempts to get further evaluation and professional help
Chapter 7 Seventh Grade:
Concerns about transition to junior high school and a program to improve self-confidence and skills
Chapter 8 Eighth Grade: Therapy, medication, and tragedy


Chapter 9:
Depression in perspective
Incidence of depression
Historical perspective
Types of depressive illness
dysthymia - chronic low mood
seasonal depression
reactive depression
recurring unipolar depression
bipolar illness
Multiplicity of depressive conditions

Chapter 10:
The Symptoms of Depression in the Young
Symptoms in Childhood
persistent sadness
low self-concept
provocative, aggressive behavior
proneness to be disappointed easily
physical complaints
inability to concentrate
energy fluctuations
eating problems
bladder and bowel problems
excessive fearfulness
A Perspective on childhood depression
Adolescent depression
anxiety and alcohol/drug use
disappointments in love
personality factors
a goal

Chapter 11 What's To Be Done:
Cognitive Therapy
all-or-nothing thinking
mental filter
disqualifying the positive
jumping to conclusions
mind reading
the fortune teller error
magnification and minimization
emotional reasoning
"should" statements
labeling and mislabeling
Implications and application of cognitive therapy
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
Cognitive Therapy and IPT: A useful class for helping today's problems

Chapter 12 Anxiety and Suicide Prevention:
Non-medication treatment for anxiety
information on the biological nature of anxiety
teaching breathing techniques
teaching the use of visualization
teaching the use of affirmations
teaching that alcohol and drug abuse are ineffective means of self-treating anxiety
The use of prescription drugs for anxiety

Chapter 13 Medication:
the story behind the discovery
lithium for young patients
the use of lithium as a maintenance
medication for bipolar illness
the use of medications for acute episodes of mania or depression
the importance of continuing maintenance medicines for bipolar clients
new findings regarding the medicines for bipolar illness
why is it so important to treat persons with bipolar illness
maintenance medication for recurring unipolar depression
Tricyclic antidepressants
The story behind the discovery
The use of tricyclic medication
MAO inhibitors
The story behind the discovery
The use of MAO inhibitors
The story behind their development
Some facts about SSRIs
Some specifics about Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Effexor
Rational for caution
A personal comment regarding Prozac
The fourth class - Wellbutrin
The use for students with ADHD
The use for adults
A personal comment on Wellbutrin
New vs old medications

Chapter 14 Suicide:
Suicide in the young
Children at risk
Adolescents at risk
Attempters vs completers
What are young attempters or completers trying to do?
Prevention programs in the past
Warning signs
previous suicide attempts
suicide talk
making arrangements
personality or behavioral change
clinical depression
The use of warning signs
The need for screening
A no-blame approach
Is reduction of the suicide rate an attainable goal?

Chapter 15:
When Everything You've Tried Seems Like Failure

Appendix 1
I. Screening instrument for Fourth - Sixth Grade
II Recommended curriculum for 7th - 12th Grade

A. General Recommendation for Parents, Teachers and Health Professionals
B. Special Information for Health Professionals

Appendix 2
A. Works Cited
B. Further References


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