Depression in Children and Teens
Depression in Children and Teens
Depression refers to a medical disorder that that causes a person to persistently feel sad, low or disinterested in daily activities. It has been described as the black dog that robs us of our joy and it’s the unquiet mind that keeps us awake all night (Williams &Teasdale, 2012). In teens, it alters their pleasure or interests in certain activities that they should otherwise be enjoying, makes them irritable and disturbs their mood. Mondimore (2011) explains that depression disorder makes the feelings of lowness and sadness continue for an extended period of time. This is a very important issue that affects children, where the depressive disorders in children affects about 15% of all the adolescence and children by the age of 18 (Goldman & Wren, 2012). As such, the present paper investigates the causes of depression in children and adolescents, the effects it has in all spheres of their lives and preventive as well as curative measures that can be taken to reduce the trends of depressed teens and children and therefore reducing the risks the children are exposed to by virtue of them being depressed (Huberty, 2012).
There are several things that are correlated to depression, in terms of the causes and what may possibly lead to depression. Milne & Lancaster (2011) notes that lack of parental representations and insecure attachments contribute largely to kids being depressed. Symptoms of depression mostly begin to increase around puberty, are may be characterized by some intense feelings of worthlessness and sadness, accompanied a withdrawal from social situation which arises from a sense of futility (Elliott, 2014). Research has increasingly suggested that very low emotional awareness can be associated with some symptoms of anxiety and depression among teens and children. It is still unclear however whether the low emotional awareness by the teens and children predict the subsequent internalizing symptoms. Kranzler, Young & Hankin (2015) therefore used longitudinal data to find out the place of emotional awareness as one of the Trans diagnostic predictors of symptoms of depression and anxiety that are subsequent. The participants included 204 young people between the ages of 7–16. The Results indicated that low baseline awareness in terms of emotions predicted both anxiety and depressive symptoms in a 1-year period. These findings may suggest that the emotional awareness of a teen may constitute the Trans diagnostic factor, thus predicting both the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and that the training on emotional awareness may be beneficial to the programs of treatment and prevention for the youth with depression and anxiety. There are other factors that contribute to a teenagers’ depression, that are purely cultural and biological. According to Reynolds (2013), kids from diverse cultural and familial backgrounds with varying biological endowments will exhibit symptoms of depression in age-appropriate ways. This is an indication that the social, cognitive, neurobiological and social systems of a developing child are interconnected.
Maltreatment of adolescents, according to (Rothery, 1990) is an issue that receives no or little attention, but it remains a major problem with long lasting effects on adolescents, such as depression. The moderation of child maltreatment’s effects on depression was investigated by Dante & Fred (2014) in a sample of 1,096 African American children who were maltreated and came from a low-income background. Child maltreatment practices were coded independently from the Child Protective Services records as well as other child protection documents, as explained by Myers, J. (2012). Assessments of Children depression and other internalizing problems were made in the context of summer research camp through self-report and adult counselor on the Children’s Depression Inventory report, with which maltreatment was consistently associated with, as well as the teacher Report Form symptoms. The results for self-report symptoms of a child indicated that a gene (G) and environment (E) interaction was a brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) for maltreatment. These findings illustrate that the variable influence of specified genotypes in the interaction G × E based on maltreatment variation and the importance of an approach for understanding influences on internalizing symptoms and depression among African American children that is multigenic.
A closely related study by Somerville Fani Mcclure-Tone (2011) demonstrated how depression is expressed by teens and children revealed that adolescents tend to show a higher levels of amygdala activation as a response to emotional facial expressions as compared to children and adults.
As a cause of depression amongst the children, addiction to the internet can be one of the reasons of child depression, as found out by Guo, etal (2012). The pathological and heavy use of the Internet amongst the teenagers has been discovered as a mental health issue that is emerging among the adolescents, who have a greater and accessible access to the internet.
In a study done in China, it was found out that internet addiction was to a large extent associated with a higher risk of depression in children, and it leads to some depressive staes for kids (Montag, 2015). Generally speaking, and that migration was also an important factor of risk for depression children (Munck, 2013). The objective of the study by Guo, etal (2012) was to cross-examine the connection between depression and internet addiction in left-behind children (LBC) as well as migrant children (MC) in China. The study was conducted in a cross-sectional design with 574 MC, 1143 LBC and 1287 rural children (RC) who were non-left-behind, all from 12 schools, adding up to 3,254 participants (8–17-years old). To assess the Internet dependency of the children, young’s 8-item scale of Internet Addiction was used. The Children’s Depression Inventory-Short Form was used to measure child depression. At the end of the study, the results indicated that the depression prevailed at 10.9% among RC, 19.7% among MC, and 14.3% among LBC. The internet addiction prevalence was at 3.7% among RC, and was 6.4% among MC and 3.2% among LBC. Depression was effected by the interaction between types of children and Internet addiction. LBC with Internet addiction, MC with Internet addiction and MC with no Internet addiction had higher risks of depression than that for RC with no-Internet addiction. The same is echoed by Ko, Yen, Yen & Chen (2010), where they vehemently blame internet addiction for a range of newly emergent disorders. However, even as they claim that internet addiction has been found to associate with a number of psychiatric disorders, they suggest that, Internet addiction On the other hand should be paid more attention to when people with these psychiatric disorders of addiction to the internet are being treated (Cao & Su, 2007).
In another study, by Gomez & Gomez (2012), the authors looked at the measurement and the structural invariances of the Children’s Depression Inventory. Across ratings that was provided by clinic-referred 383 children and adolescents with depressive disorders and 412 without. Invariance for thresholds was as well supported by MIMIC procedures (multiple indicators multiple causes) which controlled for the sex; age effects; and the absence or presence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety disorders and conduct disorders. The MIMIC analysis showed that for the latent mean scores, the depressive disorders group had higher scores.
Parents who are depressed are thought by many to be unreliable when it comes to reporting children’s depression symptoms (Schulz, 2013). However, there are findings that are contradictory to that notion and primarily focus on the discrepancies that exist between child and parent reports, instead of the predictive validity of the informants. A study by Lewis etal (2012) used a sample of parents who had recurrent depression, and they utilized data from a prospective longitudinal study which is high risk (the Early Prediction of Adolescent Depression study) to ascertain whether parental reports of symptoms of child depression predicted NOMD (new onset mood disorder) in children. They sampled 287 parents who had a history of depression that was recurrent and their adolescent offspring at the ages of 9-17. The assessment of the families was made at three time points. The Child and Adolescent Psychiatric assessment (both parent and child versions) was utilized so as to assess the total number of child depression symptoms that were computed separately by informant) and NOMD at follow-up. It was found out that Parent reports of depression symptoms in children at baseline largely predicted NOMD in children. Secondary analyses that stratified the sample according to the age of the child indicated that, for the younger children, parent reports are better at predicting NOMD as compared to child reports. For the children aged 12 and above, there was no significant differences noted between parent and child reports in predicting NOMD. It is therefore safe to conclude that in this sample which is high risk, parent and child ratings of depression predict new child mood disorder to an equal degree (Acton, 2013). Researchers and clinicians should give consideration to the ratings of parent of the depression symptoms of their children, whether the parent suffers from depression or not.
In the treatment of depression in adolescents, it is paramount to note that suicidal thoughts are common with depressed teens (Bridge etal, 2014). Therefore, to accurately evaluate the role played by treatment in emergent suicidality, it’s important to assess the self-reported suicidality and to balance the treatment groups on this predictor of emergent suicidality. A history of self-injury that is non-suicidal prior to treatment is a marker for subsequent suicidal attempts and should be assessed as carefully in depressed adoloscents as current behavior and suicidal intent (Wilkinson etal, 2014).Wagner etal (2014) recommends citalopram treatment to adolescence depression since it significantly improves depressive symptoms as compared with placebo, as a study revealed. No serious adverse events in the study were reported, and the discontinuation rate because of adverse events among citalopram-treated patients could be compared to that of placebo.
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