When Depression and Parenting Intersect why treat with Drugs?
Childhood emotional dysregulation can be conceptualised as either externalised as tantrums or acting out or internalised as anxiety or depression. Knowing as we do, that emotion regulation is impacted by a range of both individual (parent and child ) and systemic ( parent-child, marital and family) factors it is disturbing to read that between 2012 – 2013 and 2017-2018 anti-depressant prescribing rates in Australia grew faster among children (+36%) than any other age group (+10%). This is in a country which boasts the second largest per-capita use of antidepressants of 30 countries in which data is available. ( Dr Martin Whitely and Dr Melissa Raven email@example.com 2019)
Recognizing the importance of family dynamics on children’s emotion regulation and depressive symptoms, a study by Thomassin et. al. (2017) explored the role of co-parental affect and whether ‘this association mediates the link between parent and child depressive symptoms.’ The researchers coded the congruence between parents’ positive affect as they described a time when their child had been happy and one when they had been sad. ‘Interparental positive affect congruity (IPAC) during the sadness discussion, but not the happiness discussion, uniquely predicted parent‐reported child emotion dysregulation, above and beyond the contributions of child negative affect and parental punitive reactions.’ The authors conclude that these results attest to the contribution of low parental affect congruence as a risk factor for the development of depression in children.
With evidence like this available, the question must be asked ‘Why treat childhood depression with drugs and not family therapy?’
Kristel Thomassin, Suveg,C, Davis,M., Lavner,J and Beach,S (2017) Coparental Affect, Children’s Emotion Dysregulation, and Parent and Child Depressive Symptoms Family Process 56(1) 126-140
Upcoming workshop – Emotional Dysregulation
“A neuro-political approach to therapy with emotionally & behaviourally dysregulated children, adolescents & families”
A one-day workshop, combining clinical expertise, knowledge and training within the Bower Place Complex Needs Clinic. An opportunity to explore research drawing on live clinical practice.
21st June 2019 – 9.30am to 5pm.
Cost $190 for full day training with Senior Practitioners in the field and Bower Place Directors Catherine Sanders and Malcolm Robinson