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Common Psychological Disorders of Adolescence cover image

Common Psychological Disorders of Adolescence 2010


Distributed by Human Relations Media, 41 Kensico Drive, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549; 800-431-2050
Produced by Peter Cochran
Directed by Peter Cochran
DVD, color, 27 min.

Jr. High - Adult
Adolescence, Psychology

Date Entered: 11/03/2010

Reviewed by Wendy Highby, University of Northern Colorado

Common Psychological Disorders of Adolescence addresses five psychological problems prevalent among teenagers: eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), substance abuse, anxiety disorder, and depression. The film profiles five adolescents with the disorders. In interview footage each frankly describes some of the challenges of coping with his or her illness. Laura suffers from EDNOS, eating disorder not specified, and wrestles with self-esteem issues. Brad has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and struggles to appropriately focus his attention. Dezeray has a substance abuse disorder and experienced a frightening alcohol poisoning incident. Molly has an anxiety disorder and describes what a panic attack feels like. Shane, who has depression, shares how it felt when people misunderstood his illness.

The interview footage of the teens is interspersed with explication from clinical psychologist Dr. Deborah Gatins. She explains the difference between normal, temporary states of mind and full-blown disorders. She and the film narrator touch on the environmental and/or biological basis of each problem. They also briefly address the treatment available for each syndrome, including therapy and medication.

The film is well-edited; the interviews with the teens create audience empathy and the footage of the clinical psychologist provides authoritative, compassionate commentary. It is relatively free of jargon and thus accessible to the layperson. A loose-leaf teacher’s resource book is included to supplement the film. It contains student activities and fact sheets. Common Psychological Disorders of Adolescence could be useful in both counseling and classroom venues. It is appropriate for audiences of a wide range of ages though it is chiefly aimed at teens. The film provides succinct overviews of each disorder. By building understanding, it serves to de-stigmatize mental illness.