Washington [US]June 23 (ANI): According to a new study, depression in adolescents between the ages of 10 and 24 is both a leading cause of stress and a possible risk factor for future illnesses and disabilities.
The results of the study appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), published by Elsevier.
The study showed that depression in childhood or adolescence is associated with higher anxiety and substance use disorders in adults, poorer health and social function, less financial and educational performance and increased crime.
The results are based on the Great Smoky Mountains Study, an ongoing community-based project that tracks the health of 1,420 participants from rural areas in the Southeast that has been ongoing since 1993.
Lead author William Copeland, MD and Professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont, VA, USA, said, “One in twelve children struggles with depression sometime between the ages of 9 and 16, with girls more likely to suffer This is a common childhood challenge , which unfortunately often goes unnoticed by the adults in the children’s lives, including parents, teachers and paediatricians. “” The literature is clear that we have effective treatments to help children dealing with depression. The problem is that in the real world, the majority “Children with depression never receive any treatment at all and have to deal with this challenge on their own. This study highlights the consequences of this unmet need,” added Copeland.
Children in the study were assessed for depressive symptoms through interviews with the children and one of their parents up to eight times between 9 and 16 years of age. The same participants were then followed up to four times in young adulthood, at ages 19, 21, 25, and 30, to evaluate their mental health and their actual functioning in terms of health, wealth, crime, and social outcomes.
A diagnosis of childhood depression was associated with a wide range of poorer well-being indicators in adulthood. These links between early depression and poor adult achievement persisted after reporting participants’ early exposure to adversity such as low socioeconomic status, family problems, abuse, and bullying.
The links were strongest for children who chronically showed high levels of depressive symptoms throughout childhood rather than those who happen to report symptoms at a single time point. This finding is consistent with the idea that particularly persistent depressed moods are associated with the worst long-term adult outcomes.
Co-author Iman Alaie, MSc and PhD student at the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University, Sweden said: “Participants who became depressed as adolescents actually did worse in the long run than those who had their first depression already in From a development perspective, this was a rather unexpected result given on the current recognition that a previous disease outbreak may indicate poorer results. ”The study was not without some good news.
Children who received special mental health services to address their mental health challenges were less likely to have exacerbated mental health problems – especially anxiety – when they entered adulthood.
Here too, however, children who received services continued to show problems in other important areas, including substance use, suggesting that mental health services in childhood may not be a panacea for all future health problems.
“Our results underline the importance of rapid and effective treatment, but we should also consider additional support needs during the transition to adulthood,” says Ulf Jonsson, associate professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University.
“When we consider the burden of depression on children, their families and the school and look at it from a public health perspective, it becomes clear that we need to do a better job of alleviating risk factors for childhood depression whenever possible, with better screening processes to detect childhood depression and use evidence-based prevention and treatment when we see that a child is at risk for depression or has developed depression, “added Lilly Shanahan, Ph.D., Professor at the Department of Psychology and at the Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Overall, the study confirmed the public health burden from childhood depression and depressive symptoms, especially when experienced for extended periods. (ANI)