Living with a Brain Disorder: Sophie, 11-15, Generalized Anxiety Disorder & Depression

Living_Brain_Disorder2.jpgInterviewee: Sophie, age 11-15, from illinois was diagnosed with “Last year in April, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and clinical depression at the North Shore Wellness Center”.

Before I was depressed/had anxiety, I was living a full, happy life. I had lots of friends, took dance classes and studied the piano, and was generally a very normal, very happy person.

Starting in November 2004, I started feeling increasingly depressed and began worrying about absolutely everything. I had trouble sleeping and my schoolwork began to fall behind drastically. I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry for hours, often for no reason. I began scratching and cutting myself to try to ease the mental pain, but it often just made things worse. Finally, my parents sent me to my pediatrician to see what I should do, and she prescribed me Ambien. The sleeping pills helped me sleep, but they also provided me with the temptation to take my own life by overdosing on them. I also saw my school social worker, who reccomended I talk to a therapist outside of school. I went to two therapists, the second of which I am currently seeing every week for talk therapy. I was then referred to a psychiatrist, who I still see bi-monthly (I saw him weekly at first) who diagnosed me with clinical depression and anxiety disorder, along with some panic issues (I had suffered from a few panic attacks). Slowly, I began feeling better with the help of Zoloft, an antidepressant that has helped me greatly, and therapy.

What I know about clinical depression: Symptoms include insomnia, sleeping too much, changes in appetite, irritability, loss of interest in things that used to be fun, deep sadness. These must occur for over a two week period to be considered depression. I learned about depression from my therapists and from furthur research of my own. Anxiety disorder: Symptoms include constant worrying, irritability, inability to concentrate. I learned about anxiety disorder from my own research on the Internet and from my psychiatrist.

I cope by surrounding myself with friends and family that I care about, which is very effective, taking Zoloft, and going to therapy sessions with my psychologist. I sometimes still feel depressed or anxious, but I am slowly getting better. I also take dance six times a week and play the piano and do lots of artsy things, which is a good outlet for me.

For the full interview, please visit the project page.

The GNIF Brain Blogger Living with a Brain Disorder series of excerpted interviews aims to provide unedited insight into the often mysterious minds of brain disorder patients by publishing interviews and professional commentary with afflicted individuals of mental health and neurological or “brain” disorders (e.g. Alzheimer’s, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, developmental disabilities, Parkinson’s, and schizophrenia). The project will encompass the world spectrum of afflicted individuals to identify socio-geographical etiologies, impact of stigmatization, access of medical and mental health information and treatment options, and other features of health promotion.

Shaheen E Lakhan, MD, PhD, MEd, MS, FAAN

Shaheen E Lakhan, MD, PhD, MEd, MS, FAAN, is a board-certified neurologist and pain specialist, medical educator, and scientist. He is the executive director of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation (GNIF). He is a published scholar in biomarkers, biotechnology, education technology, and neurology. He serves on the editorial board of several scholarly publications and has been honored by the U.S. President and Congress.
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