What’s Happening This Week?
I want to bring you little tidbits I hear from my clients that are fascinating and/or important. Then I might give my commentary on it, or I might not. Just passing along thoughts from those who actually live the day to day of being an adolescent dealing with mental health issues instead of you just reading articles from those who have opinions about it.
- I know there will be mixed reactions to this: A tampon machine has been installed at the local public high school in the men’s restroom. It was reported to me that the majority of students reacted to this much as you’d expect adolescent boys to react. Most of the tampons were apparently extracted by boys who found the situation amusing and used them to prank one another throughout the day…While the administration was probably hopeful the boys at the school would handle transgender topics with sensitivity, boys almost always cope with things that are uncomfortable for them using humor. If your teenage boy uses humor to cope with uncomfortable changes to their world, please know it is developmentally normal and is just how they process things; it doesn’t make them bad, insensitive, or wrong.
- A reflection on Hims and Hers- A telehealth company: A client has reported it is shockingly easy to obtain certain types of psychiatric medication for anxiety and depression. I have not vetted this company and cannot verify this report. I also do not know if this company prescribes to children. A cursory look at their website seems to indicate they prescribe for things such as hair loss, anxiety, and depression. This client told me it was easy to get a prescription for an antidepression WITHOUT EVEN SEEING A DOCTOR!!! This client is very astute on mental health issues and expressed alarm. Apparently one filles out a survey and then an email is sent with directions and a prescription.
-Sorry folks. After many thousands of hours working in the mental health field, I can’t get on board with this if this is true. Psychiatry is complicated. While some of my clients are correct in their self-diagnoses, many, many, many have been wrong. In some cases, taking an antidepressant would have caused a worsening of symptoms, not an alleviation. You simply have to talk to a doctor about meds before taking them. Period. I won’t bend on this opinion. Can you talk to your primary care doctor? Yes. That is an appropriate place to start. Your primary care doctor has theoretically received enough training to help you start the process. Sometimes they will prescribe, and sometimes they will refer you to a psychiatrist, neurologist, or some other specialist. In the 15 years I’ve been practicing, I’ve seen people need to see a rheumatologist, endocrinologist, pain medicine specialist, orthopedic surgeon, OBGYN, or oncologist for what initially appeared to be psychiatric symptoms. Your primary care doctor and/or psychiatrist know to look for other things causing depression and anxiety symptoms. Here’s the most important point: Depression and anxiety are not always the diagnosis. Very often they are symptoms of another underlying issue. Let’s use the metaphor of a skin rash. Sometimes a skin rash is the diagnosis, but a break-out on the skin can indicate many other things going on with the internal organs. Depression and anxiety are no different.
That’s it for today. I look forward to sharing other interesting tidbits with you next time. I am unbelievably privileged to get a front-row seat to everything going on through the eyes of the courageous, amazing adolescents I work with in therapy. It’s an honor, and I’m proud of all of you for hanging in there during what feels like tumultuous times.
Helping teens grow and families improve connections,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT