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Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia
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I have a couple of great daughters. My eldest, who just turned 15 was recently diagnosed with dysthymia. If you are like me you've never heard of it.; "Persistent depressive disorder". She has been feeling depressed for 6+ months. We've been taking her to talk to a psychologist, she is on meds but not much seems to work so far.


From the outside you'd think she had a great life. All "A" student. Student body President. Star athlete....good friends. Volunteers to help the homeless. She's the definition of an overachiever, which is funny because it's something I have never been. But to hear her talk she's just never happy. She says it's worse for her on the weekends when she has down time and can "think". My wife and I have talked to her about whether she's putting too much pressure on herself to be "perfect" and assured her that we don't care about anything but her well being. We've given her the option to go to an easier school, just cut back, whatever she wants, but she tells us she wants to stay where she is. And the doctor seems to agree.


And now it gets scary. Today after she met with her doctor we were told we need to remove knives, razor blades, medicines nightly so she can't get them. We're basically on a suicide watch. I am sure some of you have been through something similar either personally or with family/friends. I am not sure what else we can do as a parents except try and keep a close eye on her 24x7 365, tell her often how much we love her and hope that she/we can get through this dark time. The alternative is that she's not going to survive this, and that's just something I can't think about without losing my shit. I am going to sleep on the couch near her room until we get through this because I don't think I'll be able to sleep in my room anyways.


If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them.

"The political lesson of Watergate is this: Never again must America allow an arrogant, elite guard of political adolescents to by-pass the regular party organization and dictate the terms of a national election." Gerald R. Ford

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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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This brought a tear to my eye. In 2016 I suffered from depression for first time in my life at age 50. It was associated with a few loses but otherwise my life was great. Great son great daughter great wife good income etc. Medication takes time to work. Probably two weeks to see some effect 4-6 weeks to see full effect. Girls do cutting to cope with anxiety. It's possible they could do something more serious but for the vast majority it is a coping mechanism albeit one that seems so dysfunctional. There is an epidemic of girls right now that feel they have to be perfect. It is very stressful for them. Let her know and show her that you love her not for what she does but for who she is although it sounds like you are doing that already. Its tough.

jkca1 wrote:
I have a couple of great daughters. My eldest, who just turned 15 was recently diagnosed with dysthymia. If you are like me you've never heard of it.; "Persistent depressive disorder". She has been feeling depressed for 6+ months. We've been taking her to talk to a psychologist, she is on meds but not much seems to work so far.


From the outside you'd think she had a great life. All "A" student. Student body President. Star athlete....good friends. Volunteers to help the homeless. She's the definition of an overachiever, which is funny because it's something I have never been. But to hear her talk she's just never happy. She says it's worse for her on the weekends when she has down time and can "think". My wife and I have talked to her about whether she's putting too much pressure on herself to be "perfect" and assured her that we don't care about anything but her well being. We've given her the option to go to an easier school, just cut back, whatever she wants, but she tells us she wants to stay where she is. And the doctor seems to agree.


And now it gets scary. Today after she met with her doctor we were told we need to remove knives, razor blades, medicines nightly so she can't get them. We're basically on a suicide watch. I am sure some of you have been through something similar either personally or with family/friends. I am not sure what else we can do as a parents except try and keep a close eye on her 24x7 365, tell her often how much we love her and hope that she/we can get through this dark time. The alternative is that she's not going to survive this, and that's just something I can't think about without losing my shit. I am going to sleep on the couch near her room until we get through this because I don't think I'll be able to sleep in my room anyways.


If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them.

Life is full of froth and trouble, two things stand in stone
Kindness in another's troubles, courage in one's own
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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I just did a quick google to confirm that there can sometimes be a link with hypothyroidism. Have you had her checked for this? I remember reading about it years ago.

It sounds like you're taking the right approach with psychotherapy and anti depressants. The suicide precaution is a genuine scare, but realize that a much higher % of people threaten suicide than actually do it and among those who try, most are not successful, particularly among teenage girls. Not that this is re-assuring, but be aware of it.

It sounds like it is something that can be cured. Lots of teenagers go through rough spells. I remember I had a dark time when I was fifteen and had depression with suicidal thoughts, although never even tried to carry them through. I realize now something was not right, but back then it was never diagnosed. Fortunately it seemed to eventually cure itself.

I'd talk to your family doctor about getting her thyroid hormone levels checked out if this hasn't been done already. Sounds like its something at least worth looking into.
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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I also have two daughters, ages 17 & 15. My eldest has strange bouts with anxiety and borderline depression. She's not an overachiever, a solid student, good athlete, has a job and is preparing to go to a university next year and she has the same sort of 'mental downtime' issue then gets really depressed.

Meds haven't been prescribed so I have no experience with them, but I will say the only thing that snaps her out of these moments are getting out into nature. We have a sailboat and we will take her our on the boat with or without friends for a few days of fun and she is great once she's out of her normal rhythm and out in nature. It's really strange, actually. The effect used to last for a few weeks, now it lasts for a few months.

Other than my deepest sympathies, I can only offer this suggestion to you so she can find time outside of her normal routine and fill her mental down time with the outdoors. 15 can be a horrible age for girls and diet / sleep patterns can also make a big difference.
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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i sent you a pm.




who's smarter than you're? i'm!
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [cerveloguy] [ In reply to ]
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cerveloguy wrote:
I just did a quick google to confirm that there can sometimes be a link with hypothyroidism. Have you had her checked for this? I remember reading about it years ago.

It sounds like you're taking the right approach with psychotherapy and anti depressants. The suicide precaution is a genuine scare, but realize that a much higher % of people threaten suicide than actually do it and among those who try, most are not successful, particularly among teenage girls. Not that this is re-assuring, but be aware of it.

It sounds like it is something that can be cured. Lots of teenagers go through rough spells. I remember I had a dark time when I was fifteen and had depression with suicidal thoughts, although never even tried to carry them through. I realize now something was not right, but back then it was never diagnosed. Fortunately it seemed to eventually cure itself.

I'd talk to your family doctor about getting her thyroid hormone levels checked out if this hasn't been done already. Sounds like its something at least worth looking into.

Good idea. I will definitely get this looked at.

"The political lesson of Watergate is this: Never again must America allow an arrogant, elite guard of political adolescents to by-pass the regular party organization and dictate the terms of a national election." Gerald R. Ford

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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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She says it's worse for her on the weekends when she has down time and can "think".
Is there an anxiety component to it? Depression and anxiety are often found together.

It might be useful for her to try yoga or meditation as a way to calm those thoughts and have some space from them. Journaling is a helpful thing too.

Have you tried any alternative therapies? Acupuncture? A massage?
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tell her often how much we love her and hope that she/we can get through this dark time.
I'd switch the message to "we WILL get through this and you WILL feel happy again."

Do you have pets? Research shows pets help.

Jenny Lawson has a good book called "Furiously Happy" that is about dealing with depression and anxiety. It is very funny. When I have felt anxious and or depressed (though I have not been as severely depressed as your daughter), humor helps. Laughter generates endorphins, which are those happy feel good chemicals.
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she is on meds but not much seems to work so far.

don't be afraid to try different meds.

Many hugs; please keep us updated. Also, remember to take care of you, too.

Proud member of Fishtwitch and the ST Grammar Police
disclaimer: I am a PhD, not a medical doctor. The closest I get to surgery is topology.
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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I'm really sorry to hear about this.

I've fought depression since I was right around that age, first planned suicide at age 14. It wasn't something discussed in my family and it was looked at shamefully, so I never had the opportunity to get help until I was at university.

At her age, I don't have great advice. My issues stem from abuse and the need to "prove myself" and show that I'm worthy, always resulting in achievement and hiding my issues, always appearing to be the spot of sun in the room. It's taken me 15 years of therapy to move beyond that. I say that to make the point that it's not uncommon in achievers. It's good that you're not dismissive based on that. I needed people in my corner, wished I had my parents there, so it's admirable that you're there for her and taking it seriously. I guess one thing I think a parent can do is help their kids understand who their real friends are through this; the right or wrong friends speaking the right or wrong message can make all the difference in either direction.

The one piece of practical advice I'd give is to monitor the medication closely. I should be on something but have only had bad medication experiences so I've given up on that piece. The first thing I tried -- Effexor -- just made things far, far worse and increased suicidal ideations in a frightening way. Others weren't as bad in that area, but were still ineffective. Please keep close tabs on that and have conversations about how it's effecting her so you're able to take action before the next doc appointment if necessary.
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [tigerchik] [ In reply to ]
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Real good ideas. Thanks.

"The political lesson of Watergate is this: Never again must America allow an arrogant, elite guard of political adolescents to by-pass the regular party organization and dictate the terms of a national election." Gerald R. Ford

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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [MidwestRoadie] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for sharing your story. We spoke with our daughter for about an hour last night trying to understand what we could do to help. I suffered from depression almost 30 years ago but I knew why I was depressed,. Therapy + medicine got me through it. She starts therapy with a group of teens similar to herself this week. Maybe being able to relate will alleviate some of her pain.

"The political lesson of Watergate is this: Never again must America allow an arrogant, elite guard of political adolescents to by-pass the regular party organization and dictate the terms of a national election." Gerald R. Ford

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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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I was diagnosed with dysthymia. I never even thought of myself as being depressed. I was seeing a psychiatrist for ADHD and the dysthymia diagnosis took me by surprise. When I reflected on my answers to my psychiatrist's questions I understood why he diagnosed depression and even agree with it. The bad news is that there really is no cure to psychiatric conditions (bipolar, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc.). You don't really cure them, you only manage them. The good news is that they can be managed. Did your daughter's psychiatrist say why they are worried about suicide? Antidepressants, especially SSRIs, can increase risk of suicide in young people. It could be that her shrink is afraid of drug side effects rather than worsening depression. Antidepressants are very tricky to prescribe; a lot of people who conclude that they don't help just haven't found the right medication(s) and dosage. Hang in there, I hope your daughter feels better!
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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I can't being to imagine how you feel, but I'm sure everyone here including myself have you in out thoughts and intentions. Possibly changing some things up from the normal weekend schedule, different family activities, or mother daughter time, father daughter time, camping, something new?

I'd seek out a second, third and fourth opinion. I'm sure you've done an extensive search online.

Wishing and hoping for the best for you, your daughter and family.

************************

#WeAreTheForge

"Look, will you guys at leats accept that you are a bunch of dumb asses and just trust me on this one? Please?" BarryP 7/30/2012
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [outerlimit] [ In reply to ]
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outerlimit wrote:
I was diagnosed with dysthymia. I never even thought of myself as being depressed. I was seeing a psychiatrist for ADHD and the dysthymia diagnosis took me by surprise. When I reflected on my answers to my psychiatrist's questions I understood why he diagnosed depression and even agree with it. The bad news is that there really is no cure to psychiatric conditions (bipolar, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc.). You don't really cure them, you only manage them. The good news is that they can be managed. Did your daughter's psychiatrist say why they are worried about suicide? Antidepressants, especially SSRIs, can increase risk of suicide in young people. It could be that her shrink is afraid of drug side effects rather than worsening depression. Antidepressants are very tricky to prescribe; a lot of people who conclude that they don't help just haven't found the right medication(s) and dosage. Hang in there, I hope your daughter feels better!

My daughter told her psychiatrist that she is in so much pain she doesn't want to live. That's how we found out how bad she was feeling. From the "outside" you just never would have guessed she was so miserable. She's on Celexa which is an SSRI. Her dosage just got upped this week so we're hoping for some improvement. Did your diagnosis provide you with a better way to manage your depression?

"The political lesson of Watergate is this: Never again must America allow an arrogant, elite guard of political adolescents to by-pass the regular party organization and dictate the terms of a national election." Gerald R. Ford

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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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jkca1 wrote:
outerlimit wrote:
I was diagnosed with dysthymia. I never even thought of myself as being depressed. I was seeing a psychiatrist for ADHD and the dysthymia diagnosis took me by surprise. When I reflected on my answers to my psychiatrist's questions I understood why he diagnosed depression and even agree with it. The bad news is that there really is no cure to psychiatric conditions (bipolar, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc.). You don't really cure them, you only manage them. The good news is that they can be managed. Did your daughter's psychiatrist say why they are worried about suicide? Antidepressants, especially SSRIs, can increase risk of suicide in young people. It could be that her shrink is afraid of drug side effects rather than worsening depression. Antidepressants are very tricky to prescribe; a lot of people who conclude that they don't help just haven't found the right medication(s) and dosage. Hang in there, I hope your daughter feels better!


My daughter told her psychiatrist that she is in so much pain she doesn't want to live. That's how we found out how bad she was feeling. From the "outside" you just never would have guessed she was so miserable. She's on Celexa which is an SSRI. Her dosage just got upped this week so we're hoping for some improvement. Did your diagnosis provide you with a better way to manage your depression?

I know that feeling. The pain isn't only mental, it becomes a physical pain all over your body, it eats at you like a parasite. I am better, but I will never be "cured". I can only hope to manage my feelings.

I've been on Celexa for about 4 years. I'm on the max dosage and take Abilify to help. It takes about 3-4 weeks for the effects of the meds to take affect. I kept telling my therapist things weren't helping, but he assured me to wait it out.

I cannot even imagine how you feel, but I do know exactly how she feels.

Best of luck.

Nova
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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jkca1 wrote:

My daughter told her psychiatrist that she is in so much pain she doesn't want to live. That's how we found out how bad she was feeling. From the "outside" you just never would have guessed she was so miserable. She's on Celexa which is an SSRI. Her dosage just got upped this week so we're hoping for some improvement. Did your diagnosis provide you with a better way to manage your depression?


People with dysthymia tend to be high functioning. They generally meet their responsibilities and outwardly seem OK but inside they get little or no joy from life. I've been taking bupropion XL (generic Welbutrin) which has helped me a lot. I have more energy, life seems less pointless and I've been a better father, husband and employee since I started taking it. At first I had almost no appetite and I lost weight but unfortunately for me that effect was only temporary and I gained the weight back. Unfortunately Welbutrin/bupropion can exacerbate anxieties. It may not be a good choice if your daughter is anxious. Bupropion increased my libido (most antidepressants have the opposite effect) which might not be a good side effect for teenagers ;)
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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Meds - there is so much out there. Celexa is pretty old, lexapro is newer (but generic now) that appears to be "cleaner". However like many SSRI's cause weight gain, so for female at this age, could be not great. Wellbutrin, totally different type of med does not appear to do so. Make sure you have a top notch psychiastrist. Unfortunately it takes a few weeks to notice anything, but some cases it is clear that it isn't right. Zoloft on me was horrible. Cymbalta caused stomach issues. All cause dry mouth. Daughter was on effexor, and it was horrible, she was a top student that walked into class and said "whatever" about her homework at this advanced school. So watch things very carefully. Not used but a very good drug is serzone, had like 1/1000000 liver issue and didn't go anywhere. For me anyway, side effects null, this took 2 years of trial and error.

If you don't have a good dog, think of one if she is incllined,
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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I've had a very similar experience with my daughter and I'm so sorry you and your family are going through this. I firmly believe that the right medication helps reduce suicide ideation, but it is really hard to wait for the med to take effect. I would continue to assure your daughter that you will stay by her side until she finds a medication that works. I would also try to read up on the importance of validating a depressed person't feelings. You don't have to agree with her despair, but letting her know you are aware of how deeply she is suffering might help her. Would she be willing to leaving her bedroom door open? Hopefully the group therapy will be productive and validating for her. Please let us know how she is doing.
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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If you haven't already, try diet--eliminating meat, fish, poultry, and eggs:

http://nutritionfacts.org/...od-and-productivity/
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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I just want to echo everyone's well wishes in finding a solution to this terrible problem. The teen years truly suck for a lot of people and you should reassure your daughter that this will pass, you will absolutely find a solution, and things will get much, much better.
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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Okay . three things come to mind.
Get her to a pool/lake, swim classes, whatever.
Get an alcat done...have her blood tested for all food allergies( this can life changing)
magnesium spray .....call my wife if you want.pm me

also , a happy light.... they make a difference if you are in a cloud laden state like Michigan .

sometimes
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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I am 100% convinced that in our suffering and pain the most helpful thing is uncovering the buried shame and not hiding the issue, no matter what it is. There's so much isolation when we suffer in silence. It takes courage to identify an issue and face it; when we do, we're given the opportunity to be with people who can relate and say "Me, too. I thought I was the only one." I believe that is the most healing thing for ourselves and others. The group therapy will likely be incredibly helpful for her. I hope that it brings healing.



jkca1 wrote:
She starts therapy with a group of teens similar to herself this week. Maybe being able to relate will alleviate some of her pain.
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [MidwestRoadie] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you all for your support and great ideas. We got her blood test done yesterday and are awaiting the results. Diet is definitely something we need to look at. SADs was also on my list as well because our winter was awful this year.

I sat down and had a talk about suicide with her. She said she had contemplated suicide but her concern was she didn't want to make a mess....Damn. I guess we should be grateful. I spoke with her about the consequences of suicide. That the people that love her and she loves would be hurt for a lifetime in ways she could not comprehend. I think that registered with her for the moment at least. I also suggested that we all keep journals of what's going on so when she beats the depression we can share what she/we went through with other kids and parents so they too have hope. I told her I was going to ask her everyday how she feels and I didn't want a BS answer. She said she'd be honest with me which I took as a win. Logically she knows she is not alone. Emotionally her despair is awful. I hope in a year from now I can write to tell you how all your suggestions helped save her life.

"The political lesson of Watergate is this: Never again must America allow an arrogant, elite guard of political adolescents to by-pass the regular party organization and dictate the terms of a national election." Gerald R. Ford

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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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That is very scary re her comments on suicide. I'm sure you've discussed this, but you might reiterate that at her age going through puberty etc., suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. I was, to all intents and purposes, a very happy child, but I still had a few suicidal thoughts as a teenager. I have talked to my 14 year old daughter about this already, hoping that it will help her to understand that a) if she has any suicidal thoughts then they are relatively normal at her age, so she shouldn't feel that she is too weird, and b) she will probably get through it and live a happy normal life, so don't act on those suicidal thoughts, and it's ok to talk about them.

It's sometime hard for kids to put things in perspective too. They often see their school work and making As as so monumentally important that it puts incredible pressure on them. It may help to explain to her that in 10, 15 or 30 years what grades she is getting now, or indeed any worries (issues with friends, boys, etc) she is having now will be completely insignificant to her life in the future.

Hopefully that helps. Best of luck!
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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I haven't read it, but this could help:

https://www.amazon.com/...-Teens/dp/0786885971
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Re: Daughter diagnosed with dysthymia [jkca1] [ In reply to ]
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very heart-breaking to hear this - Our daughter has anxiety issues - compounded with speech fluency disfunction . . . she's now out of college and has great friends and job but it never completely goes away.
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