Our expert says:
She may be acting out in a particularly annoying and upsetting way, but it is extremely ordinary for kids of that age to act out and become, at least for a time, a thorough pain in the neck.
It is hardly ever ( probably never ) caused by chemical or hormonal factors outside of the ordinary changes of adolescence, and such changes are not, anyway, detectable by tests that are practical to do.
Bipolar Disorder is impossible to diagnose by chemical tests, and only a careful assessment according to the internationally accepted criteria can make the diagnosis. Chemical dependency also depends on a clinical assessment which could be backed up by some blood or in some cases urine tests - it all depends on what dryg is involved. But many of the drugs kids abuse can't be identified on normal testing, and most are excreted rather fast, so tests can easily miss their presencem because they're gone before the sample is taken.
Problems that could be well dealt with in counselling are by FAR the most likely cause for the problem you describe, which one does not see caused by the factors yiou are suspecting. So starting counselling would be very wise.
The counselling would help, anyway. If the counsellor noticed further factors suggesting more is involved, further asessment could be done then.
The classes she has started sound like an excellent idea, if these are activities she herself would or did choose, rather than only your idea. Not only do such classes give her an opportunity to let off steam, but they can get her so involved in pleasurable activity, that drugs or other distractions would be unwelcome to her.
Now, I am not convinced by the work of Schlegel and Barry. Such problems are undoubtedly common in Western teenagers and some others. Yes, it is not inevitable nor seen in every culture. In fact, in many cultures and in our own history, "teenage" is a fairly recent invention - a couple of centuries back, kids were considered to be small adults, deserving no special indulgence, and controlled by strong codes of discipline. I agree that this is not caused by hormonal factors ( though they don't help - and remember there has been a dramatic lowering of the age of sexual maturity ( physically and hormonally ) over the last century or more. )
But as an interaction between the physical and changes in social status and expectations, I think the problems are created by this situation - but you can't put your own teenager on hold till society rights itself, and must still deal with the current problem.
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