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Depression In Teenagers & Children
DEPRESSION in Teenagers and Children A while ago I did a blog about Adult depression. While doing the research on Adult depression, I learned quite a bit of information about depression in general, in addition to what I already knew because I suffer from this condition myself. What I didn't know, however, is just how prevelant this condition is in the population at large, and in children and teens in specific. One source said that depression is close to the top psychological condition in the western world (more about what this means in a later blog; it'll take a whold blog to talk about what this means). This article will cover the following: teenager and children depression statistics; teenager and children - specific depression symptoms (for "general" symptoms, check out the Adult blog), and, what you, as the parent and/or gaurdian, can do if you recognize the symptoms in one of yours. (Remember, the following information comes from many Internet sources.
) TEENAGER AND CHILDREN DEPRESSION STATISTICS As many as 8.3% of teenagers in the U. suffer from depression. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in teenagers.
As many as one in every 33 children and approximately one in 8 adolescents may have depression. (Center for Mental Health Services, 1996; these data have increased over the past 9 years). Treatment of major depression is as effective for children as it is for adults. (Dr. Graham Emslie, American Medical Association, Archives of General Psychiatry, November 15, 1997). Twenty years ago depression in children was almost unknown. Now the fastest rate of increase in depression is among young people. (I don't know about you, but this statistic scares me the most!) The statistics on teen depression are sobering. Studies indicate that one in five (1 in 5) children have some sort of mental, behavioral, or emotional problem, and that one in ten (1 in 10) may have a serious emotional problem. What is even more chilling is that of all these children and teens struggling with emotional and behavioral problems, a mere 30% receive any sort of intervention or treatment.
The other 70% simply struggle through the pain of mental illness or emotional turmoil, doing their best to make it to adulthood. Many theorize that this is why the suicide rate in teens is so high. Suicide is the third (3rd) leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 24. Even more troubling, it is the sixth (6th) leading cause of death among children ages 5-14. The consequences of untreated depression can be: increased incidence of depression in adulthood; involvement in the criminal justice system; or in some cases, suicide. WHAT ARE THE TEEN/CHILDREN DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS? As we see above, treatment (i., counseling, therapy, or even medical intervention, if needed) for depression is as effective for teens/children as it is for Adults. Let me state that again; research from a variety of sources indicates that appropriate treatment for depression in a teen and/or a child is as effective as it is for Adults. So, what, as a parent or gurdian, should we look for? What are the symptoms of real depression, and not just a "bad mood"? "Real Depression" - the type that needs immediate and appropriate attention - in teenagers and in children is defined as: when the feelings of depression persist and interfere with the teen's/child's ability to function in his/her normal daily activities.
This doesn't mean that one should ignore a teen's/child's bad mood if it lasts for a few days or a few weeks. What it does mean is that, at a minimum, you, the parent/guardian must know enough about your teen's/child's normal daily activities so that you can know when there are changes. OK, what covers "normal daily activities" for a teen/child? (And, in this, we are sticking to American generic teens/children, because that's what I am most famaliar with. If anyone can add to this list, please do so.) As you read through this list, remember that your teen/child has to have "a siginficant" number of these symptoms; they have to be ongoing, out of character; and impair the teen's/child's normal daily activities (sound familiar?) 1) Snapping at people for no apparent reason - being irritable at everyone. 2) Physically or verbally aggressive at everyone. 3) Abandoning favorite hobbies or sports or other routine, daily activities. 4) Increased passive TV watching (where the teen/child has that "thousand yard stare" and is not interacting with the programs). 5) Increased risk-taking; e., dangerous driving; climbing too high in a tree and jumping, breaking something; other repeated unusually dangerous activities. 6) Misuse of drugs and alcohol. Particularly teens, who use drugs and alcohol to "escape". (1) 7) Changes in school behaviors (including training courses and work settings) for teens; changes in interpersonal behaviors and activities in a pre-school setting (i., used to like to color and play with clay; now just sits in a corner, holding a stuffed toy and sucking a thumb). 8) Frequent absences from school; poorer grades than formerly attained; increase in skipping classes; etc. For a child, reversion in activities (i.
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