Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for January 27th, 2012

Adolescent Enthusiasm: It Can’t Be Beat

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on January 27, 2012

  Frankie, twenty-one, female, senior in college is elated today. She is doing well at school. She enjoys her friends. She is eating and sleeping well and by her report she has “watched it with the alcohol.” By contrast, a week ago, Frankie felt her life was in the “dumper”. She hated school. She hated her friends. She did not leave her dormitory. What difference did one week do? I am not sure. She did not like how she was feeling so she reversed her mental state very quickly, such that now she is not quite manic, but close. The beauty of seeing adolescents is to witness this rapidly shifting mood state, which means that sometimes just waiting and being patient, the adolescent pulls herself out of one mood and into another mood with the agility that only young people seem to have. Sure, I could try to take credit for Frankie’s improved mood. She saw me last week and we talked about things she could do to improve her self-regulation. I think this helped, but it also helps to have the biology along with today’s culture which allows for a roller coaster of emotion, as somehow a normal and socially acceptable experience in these adolescent years. This rapid shift in mood in an older person would be seen as strange or suspicious, but within our society, we allow it by attributing these mood swings to “normal adolescent turmoil.” Whether we as a society should or should not accept these mood swings is another question. For now, I feel like the beneficiary, as youthful enthusiasm feels like a nice experience to absorb.

Posted in Adolescence, Psychotherapy | 2 Comments »

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