Info On Depression In Kids From Nimh ?
Q: Given the challenging nature of the problem, it is usually advisable
to involve a child psychiatrist or psychologist in the evaluation, diagnosis, and
treatment of a child or adolescent in whom depression is suspected.
A:A number of epidemiological studies have reported that up to 2.5 percent of children and up to 8.3 percent of adolescents in the U.S. suffer from depression 4. An NIMH-sponsored study of 9- to 17-year-olds estimates that the prevalence of any depression is more than 6 percent in a 6-month period, with 4.9 percent having major depression 5. In addition, research indicates that depression onset is occurring earlier in life today than in past decades 6. A recently published longitudinal prospective study found that early-onset depression often persists, recurs, and continues into adulthood, and indicates that depression in youth may also predict more severe illness in adult life 3. Depression in young people often co-occurs with other mental disorders, most commonly anxiety, disruptive behavior, or substance abuse disorders, 7 and with physical illnesses, such as diabetes 8. While the recovery rate from a single episode of major depression in children and adolescents is quite high 15, episodes are likely to recur 16. In addition, youth with dysthymic disorder are at risk for developing major depression 17. Prompt identification and treatment of depression can reduce its duration and severity and associated functional impairment. It is this 'symptom' of depression that, IMHO, can often lead to a misdiagnosis of a child as 'oppositional,' when, indeed, he/she is truly depressed. I wish this had been known when I was a young adolescent and suffering major depression. My 12 yo son was hospitalized for major depression and anxiety a year ago. Fortunately, I recognized the warning signs before it was too late, though I did have trouble convincing his doctors of what I was seeing. He is now on the correct antidepressant and doing much better.
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