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Lack Of Personal Hygiene

Question:

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p>My nineteen year old daughter is slim, attractive and intelligent. This past year her personal hygiene has declined dramatically to where she will go up to two weeks without bathing. While we get along most of the time, when I approach her about her hygiene habits she becomes very defensive and refuses to talk about it. Is this a sign of depression? Or just an odd adolescent phase? Please advise.

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Answer:

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p>What you’re describing sounds like a classical sign of depression. Depression is more than just a low, blue feeling. Symptoms of depression include depressed (low, blue) or agitated, irritable mood, lessened pleasure in everyday activities that formerly were sought out because they were fun to do, sleep and weight changes, low energy and fatigue or nerves (as part of that agitated presentation), low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating and possibly even thoughts of death or suicide. Taken together, the symptoms of depression can profoundly change a person’s apparent personality in a short span of time.

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p>One of the classic signs of depression is a social withdrawal. It no longer feels motivating for a depressed person to be with other people (they feel worthless or they simply don’t want company). They may lose their sexual interests and may stop caring about themselves as social objects as well. Diminished hygiene can be a part of this social withdrawal syndrome. That your daughter is defensive may be part of the agitation that can be associated with depression, but let’s face it, it might also just be semi-normal teenage-breaking-away sort of angst.

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p>There is no way to know definitively if your daughter is depressed without her being evaluated by a mental health professional, so it would seem a good idea to express concern to her and help arrange for an appointment. If she is a student at university, this may be possible through the student health service. Alternatively, she ought to see a community psychiatrist. Any general practitioner can prescribe antidepressant medications, but a psychiatrist is a specialist when it comes to depression. Don’t assume that medication will be the best solution for your daughter’s woes, please. If she is indeed intelligent as you say, she may do very well with a few months of cognitively oriented psychotherapy, which has been clinically proven to reduce depression symptoms about as well as medication, and with fewer side effects. As an added bonus, the effect of psychotherapy treatment for depression tends to last longer than medication, once therapy is done.

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Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    i feel depressed to, i had a boyfrend and he died mre thn a yr ago, 6mnths l8a i gt wit ths boy and we were togevah for quite a while thn he fnishd me, we gt bk 2gva thn he fnished me agen, he sed he lved me n i told him i lvd him to, its nt bout th sex cz we nevah did im only 15 thn a couple of days ago he was sayn tht he mised me n wants me bk nd i telt him i felt th saem , thn he txt me thu nxt day sayin tht hes not goin to txt me evah agen, he finished me twice and made me feel bad for it all i did was love me so why does he keep hurtin me so bad, i self harmed a few month ago it made me feel beta thn i keep havn suicida thoughts buh i dont tel no one just hope they will go away, i want him bakk i even stoped eetin and stopped doin my hair and make up for skool cz i mis him to much i used to dress nice on th weekends and i cant eeven do tht no more i miis him so bad i just dont no why he's doin this to me i've knew him for 5 yrs and ive nevah knew him to be like this all i wanted was thu best for us and thought he wud be thtere for me when my other boyfrend died buh every time i tried to talk to him about it he changes the subject, buh it was his frend to, he died of cancer early in 2008 i mis him to ive nevah had much luk lately i just want him to be better to me i love him and want him to understand my feelings about him buh he nevah listens :'( ,, can youh help me ??????

  • Emily

    I think depression is more of a whole problem (physical and mental) than just mental alone.

    Body work can help people get in balance.

  • Anonymous-2

    How does her daughter's intelligence relate to how well she will respond to therapy? That is rather insulting to people who aren't successfully treated by that particular therapy.

  • Anonymous-3

    Because cognitive therapy described by Anne requires an ability, by the person receiving therapy, to identify cognitive distortions and to participate in homework assignments in order to practice changing cognitive distortions. Research has shown that these techniques work best with people who are at least of average intelligence because they will be able to understand the process better. It doesn't mean that someone with less intelligence can't benefit, but it is less likely.

  • Hannah Baker

    Hey..

    I think that your thoughts of suicide are insane, you are only 15 yours old. No one is worth it enough to self harm. I self harmed a couple years back when my uncle died but i realised how serious it is to do so. Even though he doesnt want to listen to your feelings, you should tell someone about your feelings or they will just build up and you will try and end it all. Remember you have other people in your life to think about. Not just your own, people rely on you to pick them back up..if you ever need to talk to me i can give you my email address if you have msn. Im 16 and i know the pressures of needing a boyfriend as it may seem like everyone else that you know or are friends with has one aswell. If you want i can speak to him through email. Im a very pursuasive person and i WILL make him listen lol. But im begging you..DO NOT TRY AND TAKE YOUR LIFE!! i dont know you and you dont know me but all my friends come to me for advice and personal help. I would like you to contact me if you want me to help you or even if you dont want me to help you. My email is ShakeandBakes@live.co.uk

    Yours sincerely

    HannahBaker

  • Anonymous-4

    i think it is depressian ur looking at

  • Anonymous-5

    I just turned 20 and I am having a really hard time with hygiene as well. My mom gets very frustrated and resentful towards me because shes mad that Im doing this to myself. I hate when she tried to talk to me about it, I'd rather pretend its not there. I have had depression my entire life, and I have had major depression for the past 5 or 6 years. But even in high school I took showers everyday because I was a swimmer. Now that I have chronic pain and fatigue in addition to major depression, I dont want to spend the energy to take care of myself. It causes a lot of anxiety to think about running out of energy while im in the shower. My mom even put a seat in the shower so I didnt have to stand the whole time, and at first i thought that would be the answer, but now I still dont shower. I've been trying really hard to figure out why. I also am a very bad avoider especially when it comes to anxiety. I am on 4 anti-depressants and I have been in partial inpatient and intense outpatient and I had CBT and DBT and individual therapists-- YET NOTHING HAS CHANGED (as far as hygiene). I want to look nice I guess. I want to feel clean. This is one of my biggest issues right now, besides the binge eating. I've even gotten bad infections because of this. I don't know what to do.

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