The difference between mental illness and mood swings

Learn about: The difference between mental illness and mood swings from Kenneth Duckworth, MD,...
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The difference between mental illness and mood swings

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All children have mood swings. All children get sad. All children get super excited at times. All children sometimes have trouble trying to modulate their impulses, that's a given. I think when a child is in a behavioral range that is unsettling to parents, follow your own instincts about it. When a child has a big sleep disturbance. Any child who talks about suicide or wish to be dead, needs an evaluation. Any child who doesn't get invited to any birthday parties, needs an evaluation, in my opinion. You have to think, what's missing? What are the social cues that the child is putting out to other people that is noteworthy? If you have a family history of a mood disorder, as there is in my family, I would start off with a lower threshold to identify that in a child. You need to know your own risk, so that you can make informed decisions and help your child.

Learn about: The difference between mental illness and mood swings from Kenneth Duckworth, MD,...

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Kenneth Duckworth, MD

Psychiatrist, Harvard Professor & Medical Director for NAMI

Ken Duckworth, MD, serves as the medical director for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He is triple board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Adult, Child and Adolescent, and Forensic Psychiatry and has extensive experience in the public health arena.

Dr. Duckworth is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard University Medical School, and has served as a board member of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists. Dr. Duckworth has held clinical and leadership positions in community mental health, school psychiatry and now also works as Associate Medical Director for Behavioral Health at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Prior to joining NAMI in 2003, Dr. Duckworth served as Acting Commissioner of Mental Health and the Medical Director for Department of Mental Health of Massachusetts, as a psychiatrist on a Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) team, and Medical Director of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.

Dr. Duckworth attended the University of Michigan where he graduated with honors and Temple University School of Medicine where he was named to the medical honor society, AOA. While at Temple, he won awards for his work in psychiatry and neurology. He also has a family member living with mental illness.

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