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by Abigail Van Buren

Young Teenager Is Perplexed by Up and Down Disposition

DEAR ABBY: I am in my early teens and have mood swings. I assume everybody has them, but I have had mine nearly every day for the past five months. One minute I will be laughing about something, the next minute I get "down in the dumps." I can feel happy and sad at the same time.

I haven't told anybody about how I feel -- not even my parents. I need to know if this is a real problem, or if this is a part of "growing up." Please help. -- CONFUSED ALABAMA TEEN

DEAR CONFUSED: You are at an age when there are massive changes occurring in your body chemistry. What you have described can sometimes be caused by hormonal shifts.

However, it is important that you communicate your feelings to your parents and discuss your mood swings with them. From my perspective, they are definitely a part of growing up. But if they continue to trouble you, an appointment with your family doctor should be scheduled.