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Acquainted with the Night: A Parent's Quest to Understand Depression and…
by Paul Raeburn
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0767914384, Paperback)In the space of a few months, 11-year-old Alex Raeburn is bounced among seven psychiatrists and prescribed even more drugs, among them Lithium and Depakote, after lashing out at his 5th-grade teacher. The doctors are swift to prescribe pills but slow to provide therapy, despite varying opinions on what the diagnosis may be--maybe depression, ADHD, or an anxiety disorder. While the family finds little relief from the medical establishment, author Paul Raeburn, Alex's dad, slowly admits that his lack of parenting and anger-management skills may have exacerbated his son's condition. Some of his temper tantrums, one of which involves flooding their kitchen, are as frightening as his son's manic episodes.
Ironically, as the science and medicine reporter for BusinessWeek, Raeburn had access to the most prestigious names in psychiatry, but his denial of Alex's emotional problems was so strong that he didn't even bother to look up the (significant) side effects of his son's prescriptions in the Physician's Desk Reference: "I was not going to read about psychiatric drugs and mental illness because I was not going to be the parent of a mentally ill kid." He and Alex are given hope from bipolar expert Kay Redfield Jamison, who, during a book signing, writes, "Things will get better." They do, but not before the Raeburns' marriage disintegrates and Alex's younger sister Alicia is also repeatedly hospitalized for depression and attempted suicide. Raeburn's bravery in telling his childrens' story is to be commended, but the reader is left wondering just how much of Alex and Alicia's misery can be blamed on his own moodiness, prejudices, and procrastination. --Erica Jorgensen
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:21 -0400)
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