The Problems Escalate . . "
How To Distinguish Between
Typical Teen Behavior & Serious Problems
The article refers to SIGECAP, the mnemonic for symptoms of depression. The American Academy Of Family Physicians (AAFP) provides this "Screening Tool For Family Physicians"."Studies show that about 20% of teenagers have a psychiatric illness with depression, anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder being among the most prevalent. Yet parents of teens are often blind-sided by a child's mental illness. Some are unaware that mental illnesses typically appear for the first time during adolescence. Or they may confuse the symptoms of an actual disorder with more normal teen moodiness or anxiety. . .
. . .Experts say that many parents fail to recognize the signs of a child's mental illness. Some don't know what to look for. Others don't want to admit that there is a problem. After all, everyone wants a perfect child: 10 fingers and 10 toes, looks, brains, charm -- and hopefully a Harvard degree. . . .
. . . Making matters worse: It can be genuinely difficult for parents to tell the difference between early signs of a mental illness and typical teen behavior.
But the risks of missing the more serious problems are huge. Untreated depression and other mental disorders can derail a child's developmental progress or, in the worse-case scenario, lead to suicide. For this reason, experts say, parents must be vigilant.
"All we want parents to do is notice there is a problem and to bring their child to the doctor," says Mark Goldstein, chief of adolescent and young adult medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. . . ."