Teenage Depression?

By Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D.

I am a single dad and have a 16yo daughter.  Her mother lives 6 hours away and is rapid cycle Bipolar and, in all liklihood, Narcisistic PD.  They speak about once a week at this point and see each other 3 weeks over the summer + spring break and Christmas.  This year my dtr didn’t go on spring break and refuses to go this summer (she has had enough of the antics and being left alone + has a bf and is now driving a car so is mobile). 

She was recently put on the pill for a hormonal imbalance and has some self esteem issues regarding body and development. 

Her bf is nice as are her friends.  She is smart and we have a good relationship. 

She has started having bouts of sadness for no reason.  They about the time she said she didn’t want to go to her mom’s.  The episodes come about once a month and are not near her period.  They typically last 1 or 2 days and she says there is no reason, they just happen.  During these times she still goes to school, is with her friends, is nowhere near suicidal, no crying, still makes plans, ….  She is not manipulative. 

My questions, and I fully understand this is more of an opinion based soley on what I have written than a diagnosis, are: Is this abnormal?  When do I get concerned?  What else should I look for?  Is this early bipolar?  She has nothing near mania

A: Hello and thank you for your question:

There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that your daughter is bipolar, but she does sound like she is going though some depression. It may still be related to her period; there are stages between the periods that cause a dip in serotonin, and that is one reason the disorder is now called perimenstrual dysphoric disorder, rather than what it used to be called, “premenstrual.”

She also may be grieving the fact that she knows that she cannot have a stable relationship with her mother, and has to work through the sadness that comes with that realization.

I can imagine that you are worried about her mood, but you should take her to a professional and have her evaluated to determine if she is just going through the adolescent stage that often includes some depression, whether she may have a chemical thing going on, or even if she needs therapy or medication.

I would suggest that you tell your daughter that you are concerned and would like to give her a chance to talk with someone outside her friends and family. She may jump at the chance or she may not. It’s hard to tell without meeting her. Check out Psychology Today for a professional in your area.

I hope this helps,

Dr. Diana Walcutt

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Jul 2009

APA Reference
Walcutt, D. (2009). Teenage Depression?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/07/01/teenage-depression/