Tag Archives: Depression in Children

Drexel University School of Public Health study: Parental depression associated with worse school performance by children

7 Feb

Moi said in Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children:
Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.
As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8. http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids.

Andrew M. Seaman of Reuters reported in Parents’ depression may affect kids’ school performance:

Children perform worse in school when their parents are diagnosed with depression, suggests a study from Sweden.

The study found a significant negative link between parents’ depression and kids’ school performance, said senior author Brian Lee, of the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia.

“We obviously know that depression is a bad thing like any other mental health outcome,” Lee said. “It’s less recognized that mental health outcomes affect other people than the people themselves. So for parents or guardians, a vulnerable population would be their children.”

Previous studies found children with depressed parents are more likely to have problems with brain development, behavior and emotions, along with other psychiatric problems, Lee and his colleagues write in JAMA Psychiatry. Few studies have looked at school performance, however.

For the new study, they used data from more than 1.1 million children born in Sweden between 1984 and 1994.

Three percent of the mothers and about 2 percent of fathers were diagnosed with depression before their children finished their last required year of school, which occurs around age 16 in Sweden.

Overall, when parents were diagnosed with depression during their children’s lifetime, the kids’ grades suffered. A mother’s depression appeared to affect daughters more than sons, they note.

Lee characterized the link between parental depression and children’s school performance as “moderate.”

On the range of factors that influence a child’s school performance, Lee said parental depression falls between a family’s economic status and parental education, which is one of the biggest factors in determining a child’s success in school.

The researchers caution that depression may have been undermeasured in the population. Also, they can’t say that a parent’s depression actually causes children to perform worse in school…. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-school-depression-parents-idUSKCN0VC2VS

Citation:

Parental depression associated with worse school performance by children

Date:      February 3, 2016

Source:   The JAMA Network Journals

Summary:

Having parents diagnosed with depression during a child’s life was associated with worse school performance at age 16 a new study of children born in Sweden reports.

Journal References:

  1. Hanyang Shen, Cecilia Magnusson, Dheeraj Rai, Michael Lundberg, Félice Lê-Scherban, Christina Dalman, Brian K. Lee. Associations of Parental Depression With Child School Performance at Age 16 Years in Sweden. JAMA Psychiatry, 2016; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2917
  2. Myrna M. Weissman. Children of Depressed Parents—A Public Health Opportunity. JAMA Psychiatry, 2016; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2967

Associations of Parental Depression With Child School Performance at Age 16 Years in Sweden ONLINE FIRST

Hanyang Shen, MPH, MSc1; Cecilia Magnusson, MD, PhD2,3; Dheeraj Rai, MRCPsych, PhD4,5; Michael Lundberg, MPH2,3; Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD1; Christina Dalman, MD, PhD2,3; Brian K. Lee, PhD, MHS1,6

[+] Author Affiliations

JAMA Psychiatry. Published online February 03, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2917

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ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT | INTRODUCTION | METHODS | RESULTS | DISCUSSION | CONCLUSIONS | ARTICLE INFORMATION | REFERENCES

Importance  Depression is a common cause of morbidity and disability worldwide. Parental depression is associated with early-life child neurodevelopmental, behavioral, emotional, mental, and social problems. More studies are needed to explore the link between parental depression and long-term child outcomes.

Objective  To examine the associations of parental depression with child school performance at the end of compulsory education (approximately age 16 years).

Design, Setting, and Participants  Parental depression diagnoses (based on the International Classification of Diseases, Eighth Revision [ICD-8], International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision [ICD-9], and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision [ICD-10]) in inpatient records from 1969 onward, outpatient records beginning in 2001, and school grades at the end of compulsory education were collected for all children born from 1984 to 1994 in Sweden. The final analytic sample size was 1 124 162 biological children. We examined the associations of parental depression during different periods (before birth, after birth, and during child ages 1-5, 6-10, and 11-16 years, as well as any time before the child’s final year of compulsory schooling) with the final school grades. Linear regression models adjusted for various child and parent characteristics. The dates of the analysis were January to November 2015.

Main Outcome and Measure  Decile of school grades at the end of compulsory education (range, 1-10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest).

Results  The study cohort comprised 1 124 162 children, of whom 48.9% were female. Maternal depression and paternal depression at any time before the final compulsory school year were associated with worse school performance. After covariate adjustment, these associations decreased to −0.45 (95% CI, −0.48 to −0.42) and −0.40 (−0.43 to −0.37) lower deciles, respectively. These effect sizes are similarly as large as the observed difference in school performance between the lowest and highest quintiles of family income but approximately one-third of the observed difference between maternal education of 9 or less vs more than 12 years. Both maternal depression and paternal depression at different periods (before birth, after birth, and during child ages 1-5, 6-10, and 11-16 years) generally were associated with worse school performance. Child sex modified the associations of maternal depression with school performance such that maternal depression had a larger negative influence on child school performance for girls compared with boys.

Conclusions and Relevance  Diagnoses of parental depression throughout a child’s life were associated with worse school performance at age 16 years. Our results suggest that diagnoses of parental depression may have a far-reaching effect on an important aspect of child development, with implications for future life course outcomes.                                                                                     http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2488039

Here is the press release from Drexel University:

Parental Depression Negatively Affects Children’s School Performance

February 03 2016

A new study has found that when parents are diagnosed with depression, it can have a significant negative impact on their children’s performance at school.

Researchers at Drexel University led a team including faculty from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and the University of Bristol in England in a cohort study of more than a million children born from 1984 until 1994 in Sweden. Using computerized data registers, the scientists linked parents’ depression diagnoses with their children’s final grades at age 16, when compulsory schooling ends in Sweden.

The research indicated that children whose mothers had been diagnosed with depression are likely to achieve grades that are 4.5 percentage points lower than peers whose mothers had not been diagnosed with depression. For children whose fathers were diagnosed with depression, the difference is a negative four percentage points.

Put into other terms, when compared with a student who achieved a 90 percent, a student whose mother or father had been diagnosed with depression would be more likely to achieve a score in the 85–86 percent range.

The magnitude of this effect was similar to the difference in school performance between children in low versus high-income families, but was smaller than the difference for low versus high maternal education (low family income: -3.6 percentage points; low maternal education -16.2 percentage points).

How well a student does in school has a large bearing on future job and income opportunities, which has heavy public health implications, explained Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD, assistant professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health. On average in the United States, she said, an adult without a high school degree earns half as much as one of their peers with a college degree and also has a life expectancy that is about 10 years lower.

“Anything that creates an uneven playing field for children in terms of their education can potentially have strong implications for health inequities down the road,” Lê-Scherban said.

Some differences along gender lines were observed in the study. Although results were largely similar for maternal and paternal depression, analysis found that episodes of depression in mothers when their children were 11–16 years old appeared to have a larger effect on girls than boys. Girls scored 5.1 percentage points lower than their peers on final grades at 16 years old when that factor was taken into account. Boys, meanwhile, only scored 3.4 percentage points lower.

Brian Lee, PhD, associate professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health, said there were gender differences in the study’s numbers, but didn’t want to lose focus of the problem parental depression presents as a whole.

“Our study — as well as many others — supports that both maternal and paternal depression may independently and negatively influence child development,” Lee said. “There are many notable sex differences in depression, but, rather than comparing maternal versus paternal depression, we should recognize that parental depression can have adverse consequences not just for the parents but also for their children.”

Depression diagnoses in a parent at any time during the child’s first 16 years were determined to have some effect on the child’s school performance. Even diagnoses of depression that came before the child’s birth were linked to poorer school performance. The study posited that it could be attributed to parents and children sharing the same genes and the possibility of passing on a disposition for depression.

The study, “Associations of Parental Depression With Child School Performance at Age 16 Years in Sweden,” whose lead author was Drexel alumna Hanyang Shen, was published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Media Contact:
Frank Otto
fmo26@drexel.edu
215.571.4244

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Related:

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/school-psychologists-are-needed-to-treat-troubled-children/

Battling teen addiction: ‘Recovery high schools’
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/battling-teen-addiction-recovery-high-schools/

Resources:
1. About.Com’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

  1. Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm
  2. Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsarticle.aspx?articleid=106034
  3. Family Doctor’s What Is Depression? http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/depression.html
  4. WebMD’s Depression In Children http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children
  5. Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed?

http://www.healthline.com/hlvideo-5min/how-to-help-your-child-through-depression-517095449

  1. Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children http://www.onhealth.com/depression_in_children/article.htm

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
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University of California, San Francisco study identifies most common reasons for children’s mental health hospitalizations

23 Mar

Moi wrote about troubled children in Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children: Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.
As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8.
Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids…. http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

One strategy in helping children to succeed is to recognize and treat depression.

How Common Is Depression In Children?

According to Mary H. Sarafolean, PhD in the article, Depression In School Age Children and Adolescents

In general, depression affects a person’s physical, cognitive, emotional/affective, and motivational well-being, no matter their age. For example, a child with depression between the ages of 6 and 12 may exhibit fatigue, difficulty with schoolwork, apathy and/or a lack of motivation. An adolescent or teen may be oversleeping, socially isolated, acting out in self-destructive ways and/or have a sense of hopelessness.
Prevalence and Risk Factors
While only 2 percent of pre-teen school-age children and 3-5 percent of teenagers have clinical depression, it is the most common diagnosis of children in a clinical setting (40-50 percent of diagnoses). The lifetime risk of depression in females is 10-25 percent and in males, 5-12 percent. Children and teens who are considered at high risk for depression disorders include:
* children referred to a mental health provider for school problems
* children with medical problems
* gay and lesbian adolescents
* rural vs. urban adolescents
* incarcerated adolescents
* pregnant adolescents
* children with a family history of depression http://www.healthyplace.com/depression/children/recognizing-symptoms-of-depression-in-teens-and-children/

If you or your child has one or more of the risk factors and your child is exhibiting symptoms of prolonged sadness, it might be wise to have your child evaluated for depression.

How to Recognize Depression In Your Child?

MedNet has an excellent article about Depression In Children and how to recognize signs of depression in your child.
Signs and symptoms of depression in children include:

* Irritability or anger
* Continuous feelings of sadness, hopelessness
* Social withdrawal
* Increased sensitivity to rejection
* Changes in appetite — either increased or decreased
* Changes in sleep — sleeplessness or excessive sleep
* Vocal outbursts or crying
* Difficulty concentrating
* Fatigue and low energy
* Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that do not respond to
treatment
* Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests
* Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
* Impaired thinking or concentration
* Thoughts of death or suicide
Not all children have all of these symptoms. In fact, most will display different symptoms at different times and in different settings. Although some children may continue to function reasonably well in structured environments, most kids with significant depression will suffer a noticeable change in social activities, loss of interest in school and poor academic performance, or a change in appearance. Children may also begin using drugs or alcohol,
especially if they are over the age of 12. http://www.onhealth.com/depression_in_children/article.htm

The best defense for parents is a good awareness of what is going on with their child. As a parent you need to know what is going on in your child’s world. https://drwilda.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

Science Daily reported in the article, Study identifies most common, costly reasons for mental health hospitalizations for kids:

Nearly one in 10 hospitalized children have a primary diagnosis of a mental health condition, and depression alone accounts for $1.33 billion in hospital charges annually, according to a new analysis led by UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
The study is the first to examine frequency and costs associated with specific inpatient mental health diagnoses for children, and is a step towards creating meaningful measures of the quality of pediatric hospital care.
“This is the first paper to give a clear picture of the mental health reasons kids are admitted to hospitals nationally,” said Naomi Bardach, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and lead author. “Mental health hospitalizations have been increasing in kids, up 24% from 2007-2010. Mental health is a priority topic for national quality measures, which are intended to help improve care for all kids.”
The study will be published in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics.
More than 14 million children and adolescents in the United States have a diagnosable mental health disorder, yet little is known about which specific mental health diagnoses are causing children to be hospitalized. In the study, researchers found that depression, bipolar disorder and psychosis are the most common and expensive primary diagnoses for pediatric admissions.
“We now know through our analysis of cost and frequency which diagnoses are the most relevant,” said Bardach. “Next, we need to define what the optimal care is for children with these conditions so that hospitals can consistently deliver the best care for every child, every time.”
Using two national databases — Kids’ Inpatient Database and Pediatric Health Information System — the researchers looked at all hospital discharges in 2009 for patients aged three to 20 years old to determine the frequency of hospitalizations for primary mental health diagnoses. They compared the mental health hospitalizations between free-standing children’s hospitals and hospitals that treat both adults and children, to assess if there was a difference in frequency of diagnoses.
The study found that hospitalizations for children with primary mental health diagnoses were more than three times more frequent at general hospitals than free standing children’s hospitals, which the researchers say could indicate that general hospitals have a greater capacity to deliver inpatient psychiatric care than free-standing children’s hospitals…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140317084531.htm

Citation:

Study identifies most common, costly reasons for mental health hospitalization

Date: March 17, 2014

Source: University of California, San Francisco

Summary:
Nearly one in 10 hospitalized children have a primary diagnosis of a mental health condition, and depression alone accounts for $1.33 billion in hospital charges annually, according to a new analysis. The study is the first to examine frequency and costs associated with specific inpatient mental health diagnoses for children, and is a step towards creating meaningful measures of the quality of pediatric hospital care.
Journal Reference:
1.Naomi S. Bardach, Tumaini R. Coker, Bonnie T. Zima, J. Michael Murphy, Penelope Knapp, Laura P. Richardson, Glenace Edwall, and Rita Mangione-Smith. Common and Costly Hospitalizations for Pediatric Mental Health Disorders. Pediatrics, March 2014 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-3165

Here is the press release from the University of San Francisco:

Study Identifies Most Common, Costly Reasons for Mental Health Hospitalizations for Kids
By Juliana Bunim on March 13, 2014
Nearly one in 10 hospitalized children have a primary diagnosis of a mental health condition, and depression alone accounts for $1.33 billion in hospital charges annually, according to a new analysis led by UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
The study is the first to examine frequency and costs associated with specific inpatient mental health diagnoses for children, and is a step towards creating meaningful measures of the quality of pediatric hospital care.
“This is the first paper to give a clear picture of the mental health reasons kids are admitted to hospitals nationally,” said Naomi Bardach, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and lead author. “Mental health hospitalizations have been increasing in kids, up 24% from 2007-2010. Mental health is a priority topic for national quality measures, which are intended to help improve care for all kids.”
The study will be published in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics.
More than 4 million children and adolescents in the United States have a diagnosable mental health disorder, yet little is known about which specific mental health diagnoses are causing children to be hospitalized. In the study, researchers found that depression, bipolar disorder and psychosis are the most common and expensive primary diagnoses for pediatric admissions.
“We now know through our analysis of cost and frequency which diagnoses are the most relevant,” said Bardach. “Next, we need to define what the optimal care is for children with these conditions so that hospitals can consistently deliver the best care for every child, every time.”
Using two national databases – Kids’ Inpatient Database and Pediatric Health Information System – the researchers looked at all hospital discharges in 2009 for patients aged three to 20 years old to determine the frequency of hospitalizations for primary mental health diagnoses. They compared the mental health hospitalizations between free-standing children’s hospitals and hospitals that treat both adults and children, to assess if there was a difference in frequency of diagnoses.
The study found that hospitalizations for children with primary mental health diagnoses were more than three times more frequent at general hospitals than free standing children’s hospitals, which the researchers say could indicate that general hospitals have a greater capacity to deliver inpatient psychiatric care than free-standing children’s hospitals.
At both kinds of hospitals, the most common mental health diagnoses were similar (depression, bipolar disorder, and psychosis), which the researchers say supports the creation of diagnosis-specific quality measures for all hospitals that admit children.
Depression accounted for 44.1 percent of all pediatric primary mental health admissions, with charges of $1.33 billion dollars, based on the billing databases used in the study. Bipolar was the second most common diagnosis accounting for 18.1 percent and $702 million, followed by psychosis at 12.1 percent and $540 million.
“These are costly hospitalizations, and being hospitalized is a heavy burden for families and patients. Prevention and wellness is a huge part of the Affordable Care Act, along with controlling costs by delivering great care,” said Bardach. “This study helps us understand that mental health is a key priority. The long term goal is not only to improve hospital care for these kids, but also to understand how to effectively optimize mental health resources in the outpatient world.”
Co-authors include Tumaini Coker, MD, MBA and Bonnie Zima, MD, MPH, both of UCLA; J. Michael Murphy, EdD, Massachusetts General Hospital Boston; Penelope Knapp, MD, UC Davis; Laura Richardson, MD, MPH and Rita Mangione-Smith, MD, MPH, both of the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle; and Glenace Edwall, PsyD, PhD, MPP, Minnesota State Health Access Data Assistance Center.
The study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Institute for Children’s Health and Human Development.
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital creates an environment where children and their families find compassionate care at the forefront of scientific discovery, with more than 150 experts in 50 medical specialties serving patients throughout Northern California and beyond. The hospital admits about 5,000 children each year, including 2,000 babies born in the hospital.

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Related:

GAO report: Children’s mental health services are lacking
https://drwilda.com/2013/01/12/gao-report-childrens-mental-health-services-are-lacking/

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children:
https://drwilda.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University of Cambridge study: Saliva test may detect depression in kids

23 Feb

Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.
As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8.
http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids.

Anna M. Phillips wrote the New York Times article, Calming Schools by Focusing on Well-Being of Troubled Students which describes how one New York school is dealing with its troubled children.

>Mark Ossenheimer, principal of the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx, threw out a name to add to the list of teenagers in trouble.
Several teachers and a social worker seated around a table in the school’s cramped administrative offices nodded in agreement. They had watched the student, who had a housebound parent who was seriously ill, sink into heavy depression. Another child seemed to be moving from apartment to apartment, showing up at school only sporadically. And then there was the one grappling with gender-identity issues. Soon the list had a dozen names of students who could shatter a classroom’s composure or a school windowpane in a second.
Convening the meeting was Turnaround for Children, a nonprofit organization that the young-but-faltering school in an impoverished neighborhood near the Bronx Zoo had brought in this year to try to change things.
“This is the condition our organization was created to solve,” said Dr. Pamela Cantor, Turnaround’s founder and president. “A teacher who works in a community like this and thinks that these children can leave their issues at the door and come in and perform is dreaming.”
In focusing on students’ psychological and emotional well-being, in addition to academics, Turnaround occupies a middle ground between the educators and politicians who believe schools should be more like community centers, and the education-reform movement, with its no-excuses mantra. Over the past decade, the movement has argued that schools should concentrate on what high-quality, well-trained teachers can achieve in classrooms, rather than on the sociological challenges beyond their doors.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/nyregion/calming-schools-through-a-sociological-approach-to-troubled-students.html?h
pw

One strategy in helping children to succeed is to recognize and treat depression.

Catherine de Lange reported in the New Scientist Health article, Spit test could allow depression screening at school:

A few globs of spit and a questionnaire could be all that’s needed to identify some teenagers who have a high risk of developing depression. That is the upshot of a study finding that teenage boys with elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as depressive symptoms, can be 14 times more likely to become depressed later on.
It’s the first biological flag to accurately predict the risk of an individual going on to develop depression, says Barbara Sahakian at the University of Cambridge, one of the study’s authors.
The finding could lead to new pharmacological treatments for depression and could change the way schools deal with the condition. Teenagers could be screened for the biomarker and those at risk provided with targeted treatments.
Early predictor
Around the world, depression is one of the leading causes of disability. It takes hold early in life: half of all cases begin by age 14, three-quarters by 24.
“Given that we know more teenagers are getting depressed, we should be looking actively for people who are developing problems and treating them early and effectively,” Sahakian says.
Her team measured morning levels of cortisol over three days in 660 teenagers aged between 13 and 18. Elevated levels of this hormone have previously been implicated in depression. The team also recorded any pre-clinical depressive symptoms the teens reported over a year, such as tearfulness or lack of motivation. The study was later repeated in a group of about 1200 teens.
Teenage boys who reported high levels of depressive symptoms, and had high levels of cortisol, were more likely to have become clinically depressed over the next three years than any other combination. Those in this high risk group were 14 times more likely to go on to develop depression than the lowest-risk group, those who had neither high levels of cortisol nor depressive symptoms. Seventeen per cent of teens fell into this group but cortisol levels were not more useful than depression symptoms alone in pinpointing at-risk girls.
School intervention
Sahakian says screening pupils would be easy to do and beneficial, even if there were social stigma associated with identifying people who had a high risk of developing depression. “It’s better than leaving them alone in their bedrooms to get worse and worse,” she says. Screening could be carried out using saliva samples collected over a few days and students could fill out the questionnaire by themselves.
A study in the BMJ in 2012 found that having a professional therapist teach cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques to an entire class was no more effective than having the teacher give their usual personal social and health education classes, in terms of the effect on pupils’ well-being. But the hope is that screening would allow for targeted treatment.
Talking therapies such as CBT may also not be the best thing for boys, says Sahakian, because boys tend to respond better to visual techniques.
Screening could be a better way to allocate limited resources, says Carmine Pariante of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. Teenage years are a time of emotional turmoil, when pre-clinical symptoms of depression are likely to be common. “If you help all of the [people you see like this] you end up giving treatment and emotional support to those who might be alright,” he says. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25071-spit-test-could-allow-depression-screening-at-school.html#.UwcEwRzvqgk.email

Citation:

Elevated morning cortisol is a stratified population-level biomarker for major depression in boys only with high depressive symptoms
1. Matthew Owensa,b,
2. Joe Herbertc,
3. Peter B. Jonesa,b,
4. Barbara J. Sahakiand,
5. Paul O. Wilkinsona,
6. Valerie J. Dunna,b,
7. Timothy J. Croudacee, and
8. Ian M. Goodyera,b,1
Author Affiliations
1. Edited by Bruce S. McEwen, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, and approved January 10, 2014 (received for review October 4, 2013)
1. Abstract
2. Authors & Info
3. SI
4. Metrics
5. PDF
6. PDF + SI
Significance
Clinical depression is a severe and common illness, characterized primarily by persistent low mood and lack of pleasure in usually enjoyable activities, that results in significant impairment in everyday living. It also involves alterations in cognitive and hormonal functions. There is substantial variation between depressed individuals in terms of the causes and therapeutic response, making it difficult to identify those most likely to benefit from intervention and treatment. We derived subtypes of adolescents in the population based on different levels of the hormone cortisol and subclinical depressive symptoms. A group (17%) with both high levels of cortisol and depressive symptoms of both sexes had more depressed thinking. Boys in this group were at high risk for clinical depression.
Abstract
Major depressive disorder (MD) is a debilitating public mental health problem with severe societal and personal costs attached. Around one in six people will suffer from this complex disorder at some point in their lives, which has shown considerable etiological and clinical heterogeneity. Overall there remain no validated biomarkers in the youth population at large that can aid the detection of at-risk groups for depression in general and for boys and young men in particular. Using repeated measurements of two well-known correlates of MD (self-reported current depressive symptoms and early-morning cortisol), we undertook a population-based investigation to ascertain subtypes of adolescents that represent separate longitudinal phenotypes. Subsequently, we tested for differential risks for MD and other mental illnesses and cognitive differences between subtypes. Through the use of latent class analysis, we revealed a high-risk subtype (17% of the sample) demarcated by both high depressive symptoms and elevated cortisol levels. Membership of this class of individuals was associated with increased levels of impaired autobiographical memory recall in both sexes and the greatest likelihood of experiencing MD in boys only. These previously unidentified findings demonstrate at the population level a class of adolescents with a common physiological biomarker specifically for MD in boys and for a mnemonic vulnerability in both sexes. We suggest that the biobehavioral combination of high depressive symptoms and elevated morning cortisol is particularly hazardous for adolescent boys.
• adolescence
gender differences
Footnotes
• 1To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ig104@cam.ac.uk.
• Author contributions: J.H., P.B.J., B.J.S., V.J.D., T.J.C., and I.M.G. designed research; V.J.D., J.H., P.B.J., T.J.C., M.O., and I.M.G. performed research; M.O., T.J.C., and I.M.G. analyzed data; and M.O., J.H., P.B.J., B.J.S., P.O.W., V.J.D., T.J.C., and I.M.G. wrote the paper.
• Conflict of interest statement: B.J.S. consults for Cambridge Cognition Ltd.
• This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.
• This article contains supporting information online at http://www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1318786111/-/DCSupplemental.

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Related:

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/school-psychologists-are-needed-to-treat-troubled-children/

Battling teen addiction: ‘Recovery high schools’ https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/battling-teen-addiction-recovery-high-schools/

Resources:

1. About.Com’s Depression In Young Children
http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

2. Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children
http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

3. Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression
http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsarticle.aspx?articleid=106034

4. Family Doctor’s What Is Depression?
http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/depression.html

5. WebMD’s Depression In Children
http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children

6. Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed?
http://www.healthline.com/hlvideo-5min/how-to-help-your-child-through-depression-517095449

7. Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children
http://www.onhealth.com/depression_in_children/article.htm

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Yale University study: Left-handed people more likely to have psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia

3 Nov

Science Daily reported in the article, Lefties More Likely to Have Psychotic Disorders Such as Schizophrenia:

Being left-handed has been linked to many mental disorders, but Yale researcher Jadon Webb and his colleagues have found that among those with mental illnesses, people with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are much more likely to be left-handed than those with mood disorders like depression or bipolar syndrome. 1 The new study is published in the October-December 2013 issue of the journal SAGE Open. About 10% of the U.S. population is left-handed. When comparing all patients with mental disorders, the research team found that 11% of those diagnosed with mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder are left-handed, which is similar to the rate in the general population. But according to Webb, a child and adolescent psychiatry fellow at the Yale Child Study Center with a particular interest in biomarkers of psychosis, “a striking of 40% of those with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder are left-handed….” Webb and his colleagues studied 107 individuals from a public outpatient psychiatric clinic seeking treatment in an urban, low-income community. The research team determined the frequency of left-handedness within the group of patients identified with different types of mental disorders. The study showed that white patients with psychotic illness were more likely to be left-handed than black patients. “Even after controlling for this, however, a large difference between psychotic and mood disorder patients remained,” said Webb. What sets this study apart from other handedness research is the simplicity of the questionnaire and analysis, said Webb. Patients who were attending their usual check-ups at the mental health facility were simply asked “What hand do you write with?” “This told us much of what we needed to know in a very simple, practical way,” said Webb. “Doing a simple analysis meant that there were no obstacles to participating and we had a very high participation rate of 97%. Patients dealing with serious symptoms of psychosis might have had a harder time participating in a more complicated set of questions or tests. By keeping the survey simple, we were able to get an accurate snapshot of a hard-to-study subgroup of mentally ill people — those who are often poverty-stricken with very poor family and community support.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031125319.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Latest+Science+News%29

Citation:

Journal Reference:
1. J. R. Webb, M. I. Schroeder, C. Chee, D. Dial, R. Hana, H. Jefee, J. Mays, P. Molitor. Left-Handedness Among a Community Sample of Psychiatric Outpatients Suffering From Mood and Psychotic Disorders. SAGE Open, 2013; 3 (4) DOI: 10.1177/2158244013503166

Here is the Yale University press release:

By Karen N. Peart
October 31, 2013
Being left-handed has been linked to many mental disorders, but Yale researcher Jadon Webb and his colleagues have found that among those with mental illnesses, people with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are much more likely to be left-handed than those with mood disorders like depression or bipolar syndrome.
The new study is published in the October-December 2013 issue of the journal SAGE Open. About 10% of the U.S. population is left-handed. When comparing all patients with mental disorders, the research team found that 11% of those diagnosed with mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder are left-handed, which is similar to the rate in the general population. But according to Webb, a child and adolescent psychiatry fellow at the Yale Child Study Center with a particular interest in biomarkers of psychosis, “a striking of 40% of those with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder are left-handed.”
“In general, people with psychosis are those who have lost touch with reality in some way, through hallucinations, delusions, or false beliefs, and it is notable that this symptom constellation seems to correlate with being left-handed,” said Webb. “Finding biomarkers such as this can hopefully enable us to identify and differentiate mental disorders earlier, and perhaps one day tailor treatment in more effective ways.” Webb and his colleagues studied 107 individuals from a public outpatient psychiatric clinic seeking treatment in an urban, low-income community. The research team determined the frequency of left-handedness within the group of patients identified with different types of mental disorders.
The study showed that white patients with psychotic illness were more likely to be left-handed than black patients. “Even after controlling for this, however, a large difference between psychotic and mood disorder patients remained,” said Webb. What sets this study apart from other handedness research is the simplicity of the questionnaire and analysis, said Webb. Patients who were attending their usual check-ups at the mental health facility were simply asked “What hand do you write with?” “This told us much of what we needed to know in a very simple, practical way,” said Webb. “Doing a simple analysis meant that there were no obstacles to participating and we had a very high participation rate of 97%.
Patients dealing with serious symptoms of psychosis might have had a harder time participating in a more complicated set of questions or tests. By keeping the survey simple, we were able to get an accurate snapshot of a hard-to-study subgroup of mentally ill people — those who are often poverty-stricken with very poor family and community support.”
Other authors on the study include Mary I. Schroeder, Christopher Chee, Deanna Dial, Rebecca Hana, Hussam Jefee, Jacob Mays, and Patrick Molitor. Citation: Sage Open vol. 3 no. 4 2158244013503166 (October-December 2013)

For interesting facts about left-handed people http://facts.randomhistory.com/facts-about-left-handedness.html

A 2011 Wall Street Journal article, The Health Risks of Being Left-Handed, highlighted some of the potential challenges faced by lefties:

On average there is no significant difference in IQ between righties and lefties, studies show, belying popular perceptions. There is some evidence that lefties are better at divergent thinking, or starting from existing knowledge to develop new concepts, which is considered an element of creativity. And left-handed people have salaries that on average are about 10% lower than righties, according to recent research performed at Harvard University that analyzed large income data bases, although findings of some earlier studies were mixed.
Left-handedness appears to be associated with a greater risk for a number of psychiatric and developmental disorders. While lefties make up about 10% of the overall population, about 20% of people with schizophrenia are lefties, for example. Links between left-handedness and dyslexia, ADHD and some mood disorders have also been reported in research studies. The reasons for this aren’t clear. Scientists speculate it could be related to a concept known as brain lateralization.
The brain has two halves. Each performs primarily separate, specialized functions, such as language processing, which mainly takes place in the left hemisphere. There is lots of communication between the hemispheres. Typically in right-handers, the brain’s left side is dominant. But this tendency doesn’t hold up with lefties, as scientists previously believed. Some 70% of lefties rely on the left hemisphere for their language centers, a key brain function, says Metten Somers, a psychiatrist and researcher who studies brain lateralization at Utrecht University Medical Center in the Netherlands. This doesn’t appear to present problems, scientists say. The other 30% of lefties appear to exhibit either a right-dominant or distributed pattern, Dr. Somers says. They may be more prone to impaired learning or functioning, and at greater risk for brain disorders, he says. Hemisphere dominance is typical and more efficient. Symmetry, in which neither side is dominant, is believed linked to disorders, researchers say. People with schizophrenia, for instance, exhibit more symmetrical activation of their brain hemispheres than those without the disorder, studies show.
In a 2008 study, Alina Rodriguez, a psychology professor at Mid Sweden University in Östersund who studies handedness, brain development and ADHD, found that left- or mixed-handedness in children was linked to a greater risk of difficulty with language as well as ADHD symptoms. In another study published last year in Pediatrics, involving nearly 8,000 Finnish children, Dr. Rodriguez found that mixed-handedness rather than left-handedness was linked to ADHD symptoms. And knowing that a child was mixed-handed and had ADHD symptoms at age 8 helped predict much more accurately than just knowing they had symptoms at that age whether the child would continue to have symptoms at age 16. (What happens when people are forced to switch from writing with their dominant hand to the other isn’t well known, experts say.) Research that suggests that there is a link between favoring the left hand and an increased risk of bipolar disorder and ADHD, among other conditions. Emily Nelson has details on Lunch Break.
One reason that not more is known about lefties is that many studies of how the brain works prohibit left-handers from participating because their brain wiring is known to be different, says Robin Nusslock, a psychology professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., who uses neuroimaging to study mood disorders.
Lefties have an advantage in sports such as tennis, fencing and baseball, when up against a righthanded competitor, but not in noninteractive sports such as gymnastics. A potential pathway between prenatal stress and brain wiring could be cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, which can interfere with brain development, says Carsten Obel, a professor at the public-health department at Aarhus University in Denmark who has conducted research on the prenatal environment and risk of disease. Cortisol is able to pass over the placenta barrier to influence the baby.
Several studies show that stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one or job loss, during pregnancy increase the risk of having non-right-handed children. In one study of 834 Danish mothers and their 3-year-old children, Dr. Obel and his colleagues found that mothers who reported multiple stressful events during their third trimester of pregnancy and experienced distress were more than three times as likely to have a mixed-handed child, 17% compared with 5%, according to the 2003 paper published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. Another large study followed 1,700 Swedish mothers and children until the kids were 5 years old. It found that mothers with depressive symptoms or who underwent stressful life events while pregnant were more likely to have left- or mixed-handed children. The work was published by Dr. Rodriguez and her colleagues in 2008 in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Experts suggest that left- and mixed-handedness could be used as a risk factor for possible psychiatric or developmental conditions, along with behavioral difficulties, such as having a hard time in school. The presence of such risk factors could prompt early evaluation for those conditions, they say. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970204083204577080562692452538

The best defense for parents is a good awareness of what is going on with their child. As a parent you need to know what is going on in your child’s world

Related:

GAO report: Children’s mental health services are lacking https://drwilda.com/2013/01/12/gao-report-childrens-mental-health-services-are-lacking/

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children: https://drwilda.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

GAO report: Children’s mental health services are lacking

12 Jan

Moi wrote about troubled children in Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children:

Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.

As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8. http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids….

One strategy in helping children to succeed is to recognize and treat depression.

How Common Is Depression In Children?      

According to Mary H. Sarafolean, PhD in the article, Depression In School Age Children and Adolescents

In general, depression affects a person’s physical,  cognitive, emotional/affective, and motivational well-being, no matter  their age. For example, a child with depression between the ages of 6 and 12 may exhibit fatigue, difficulty with schoolwork, apathy and/or a lack of motivation. An adolescent or teen may be oversleeping, socially isolated, acting out in self-destructive ways and/or have a sense of hopelessness.

Prevalence and Risk Factors

While only 2 percent of pre-teen school-age children and 3-5 percent of teenagers have clinical depression, it is the most common diagnosis of children in a clinical setting (40-50 percent of diagnoses). The lifetime risk  of depression in females is 10-25 percent and in males, 5-12 percent. Children and teens who are considered at high risk for depression disorders include:

* children referred to a mental health provider for school problems
* children with medical problems
* gay and lesbian adolescents
* rural vs. urban adolescents
* incarcerated adolescents
* pregnant adolescents
* children with a family history of depression    

If you or your child has one or more of the risk factors and your child is exhibiting symptoms of prolonged sadness, it might be wise to have your child evaluated for depression. 

How to Recognize Depression In Your Child?     

MedNet has an excellent article about Depression In Children and how to recognize signs of depression in your child.

Signs and symptoms of depression in children include:       

* Irritability or anger
* Continuous feelings of sadness, hopelessness
* Social withdrawal
* Increased sensitivity to rejection
* Changes in appetite — either increased or decreased
* Changes in sleep — sleeplessness or excessive sleep
* Vocal outbursts or crying
* Difficulty concentrating
* Fatigue and low energy
* Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that do not respond to
treatment
* Reduced  ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or  interests

* Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
* Impaired thinking or concentration
* Thoughts of death or suicide        

Not all children have all of these symptoms. In fact, most will  display different symptoms at different times and in different settings.  Although some children may continue to function reasonably well in  structured environments, most kids with significant depression will  suffer a noticeable change in social activities, loss of interest in  school and poor academic performance, or a change in appearance.  Children may also begin using drugs or alcohol,
especially if they are  over the age of 12.

The best defense for parents is a good awareness of what is going on with their child. As a parent you need to know what is going on in your child’s world. https://drwilda.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

Joy Resmovits reported in the article, Mental Health Care For Kids Severely Lacking, Says GAO which was posted at Huffington Post:

“Most children whose emotions or behavior, as reported by their parent or guardian, indicated a potential need for a mental health service did not receive any services within the same year,” the GAO wrote.

The report comes after Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (Calif.) requested that the GAO look into how psychotropic drugs affect the long-term development of kids who grow up in foster care. While the report is very specific in its scope, it’s sure to be a relevant piece of evidence as the Obama administration formulates policy to deal with the ramifications of the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting. The shooting has sparked a nationwide debate on gun control, but it has also directed America’s attention to the state of its mental health care system.

Here are some findings:

  • On average, 6.2 percent of noninstitutionalized children in Medicaid and 4.8 percent of privately insured kids received psychotropic medications.

  • 30 percent of foster children who might have required mental health care didn’t receive them over the last year.

  • Most kids outside the foster care system whose behavior displayed red flags didn’t receive mental care services.

  • Many kids who got psychotropic medication didn’t get counseling or therapy to complete the care.

  • While the National Institutes of Health spent1.2 billion on children’s mental health care research between 2008 and 2011, most of the funding focused on research studying therapy, rather than the effects of such medication. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joy-resmovits/mental-health-care-for-ki_b_2449205.html?utm_hp_ref=education

Here is the GAO press release:

What GAO Found

An annual average of 6.2 percent of noninstitutionalized children in Medicaid nationwide and 4.8 percent of privately insured children took one or more psychotropic medications, according to GAO’s analysis of 2007-2009 data from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). MEPS data also showed that children in Medicaid took antipsychotic medications (a type of psychotropic medication that can help some children but has a risk of serious side effects) at a relatively low rate–1.3 percent of children–but that the rate for children in Medicaid was over twice the rate for privately insured children, which was 0.5 percent. In addition, MEPS data showed that most children whose emotions or behavior, as reported by their parent or guardian, indicated a potential need for a mental health service did not receive any services within the same year. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and many states have initiatives under way to help ensure that children receive appropriate mental health treatments. However, CMS’s ability to monitor children’s receipt of mental health services is limited because CMS does not collect information from states on whether children in Medicaid have received services for which they were referred. GAO recommended in 2011 that CMS identify options for collecting such data from state Medicaid programs. Findings in this report underscore the continued importance of CMS’s monitoring of children’s receipt of mental health services.

HHS’s Administration for Children and Families (ACF) reported that 18 percent of foster children were taking psychotropic medications at the time they were surveyed, although utilization varied widely by the child’s living arrangement. ACF also reported that 30 percent of foster children who may have needed mental health services did not receive them in the previous 12 months. HHS agencies are taking steps to promote appropriate mental health treatments for foster children, such as by sending information to states on psychotropic medication oversight practices.

HHS’s National Institutes of Health spent an estimated $1.2 billion on over 1,200 children’s mental health research projects during fiscal years 2008 through 2011. Most of the funding–$956 million–was awarded by the National Institute of Mental Health, with more research projects studying psychosocial therapies than psychotropic medications. Other HHS agencies spent about $16 million combined on children’s mental health research during this period.

HHS reviewed a draft of this report and provided technical comments, which GAO incorporated as appropriate.

Why GAO Did This Study

Experts have concerns that children with mental health conditions do not always receive appropriate treatment, including concerns about appropriate use of psychotropic medications (which affect mood, thought, or behavior) and about access to psychosocial therapies (sessions with a mental health provider). These concerns may be compounded for low-income children in Medicaid and children in foster care (most of whom are covered by Medicaid)–populations who may be at higher risk of mental health conditions. Within HHS, CMS oversees Medicaid, and ACF supports state child welfare agencies that coordinate health care for foster children.

GAO was asked to provide information on children’s mental health. This report examines (1) the use of psychotropic medications and other mental health services for children in Medicaid nationwide, and related CMS initiatives; (2) HHS information on the use of psychotropic medications and other mental health services for children in foster care nationwide, and related HHS initiatives; and (3) the amount HHS has invested in research on children’s mental health.

GAO analyzed data from HHS’s MEPS –a national household survey on use of medical services–from 2007 through 2009 for children covered by Medicaid and private insurance. GAO reviewed two recent ACF foster care reports with data from a national survey conducted during 2008 through 2011. GAO analyzed data from HHS agencies that conduct or fund research and interviewed HHS officials and children’s mental health providers, researchers, and advocates.

For more information, contact Katherine Iritani at (202) 512-7114 or iritanik@gao.gov.

Concerns Remain about Appropriate Services for Children in Medicaid and Foster Care GAO-13-15, Dec 10, 2012

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Resources:

Counselors, School Support Staff Toil Amid Scant Resources http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/01/10/16staffing.h32.html?tkn=VPLFw6EYbOz23lTzoeSKlVNGV4SNwasebCry&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=EW-QC13-EWH

About.Com’s Depression In Young Children

  1. Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children
  2. Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression
  3. Family Doctor’s What Is Depression?
  4. WebMD’s Depression In Children
  5. Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed?
  6. Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children
Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                         http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                               http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                    https://drwilda.com/

Hard times are disrupting families

11 Dec

A team of researchers has just published a study, “A Test of the Economic Strain Model on Adolescents’ Prosocial  Behaviors,” which describes how families are being disrupted in the current economic climate. Janice Wood associate news editor at Psych Central writes about the study in the article, Recession Taking a Toll on Family Relationships.

A University of Missouri researcher has found that parents who are experiencing financial problems — and the depression that often results from those problems — are less likely to feel connected to their children, and their children are less likely to engage in positive behaviors, such as volunteering or helping others.

The study serves as a reminder that children’s behaviors are affected by issues beyond their immediate surroundings,” said Gustavo Carlo, Millsap Professor of Diversity in the university’s department of human development and family studies.

Families’ economic situations are affected by broader factors in our society, and those financial problems can lead to depression that hurts parent-child relationships.”

Previous research has shown that parent-child connectedness is an indicator of “pro-social behavior” in children, such as volunteering. These positive behaviors lead to moral development, better outcomes in relationships, and better performance at work and school, researchers say.

For the latest study, Carlo and his colleagues studied middle- to upper middle-class families. Parents and children answered questions about economic stress, depression and connectedness between parents and children.

A year later, the children reported how often they engaged in prosocial behaviors toward strangers, family members and friends.

Even middle-class families are having financial difficulties, and it’s affecting their ability to be effective parents,” Carlo said. “When parents are depressed, it affects their relationships with their kids.”

Carlo suggests that depressed parents seek treatment from a mental health professional, if possible. If that isn’t possible, parents should look for help from their spouses, families, friends, churches and other community agencies, he said. He recommends parents balance efforts to help themselves with spending quality time with their children.

http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/12/10/recession-taking-a-toll-on-family-relationships/32340.html

Even very young children can become depressed.

Pamela Paul has a fascinating article in the New York Times about preschoolers and depression. In the article, Can Preschoolers Be Depressed? Paul reports:    

Kiran didn’t seemlike the type of kid parents should worry about. “He was the easy one,” his father, Raghu, a physician, says. “He always wanted to please.” Unlike other children in his suburban St. Louis preschool, Kiran (a nickname his parents asked me to use to protect his identity) rarely disobeyed or acted out. If he dawdled or didn’t listen, Raghu (also a nickname) had only to count to five before Kiran hastened to tie his shoes or put the toys away. He was kind to other children; if a classmate cried, Kiran immediately approached. “Our little empath!” his parents proudly called him.

But there were worrisome signs. For one thing, unlike your typical joyful and carefree 4-year-old, Kiran didn’t have a lot of fun. “He wasn’t running around, bouncing about, battling to get to the top of the slide like other kids,” Raghu notes. Kiran’s mother, Elizabeth (her middle name), an engineer, recalls constant refrains of “Nothing is fun; I’m bored.” When Raghu and Elizabeth reminded a downbeat Kiran of their coming trip to Disney World, Kiran responded: “Mickey lies. Dreams don’t come true.”

Paul does a great job of describing what depression looks like in small children and reporting about research efforts by various universities.    

According to Mary H. Sarafolean, PhD in the article, Depression In School Age Children and Adolescents

In general, depression affects a person’s physical,  cognitive, emotional/affective, and motivational well-being, no matter  their age. For example, a child with depression between the ages of 6 and 12 may exhibit fatigue, difficulty with schoolwork, apathy and/or a lack of motivation. An adolescent or teen may be oversleeping, socially isolated, acting out in
self-destructive ways and/or have a sense of hopelessness. (See table 1.)    

Prevalence and Risk Factors             

While only 2 percent of pre-teen school-age children and 3-5 percent of teenagers have clinical depression, it is the most common diagnosis of children in a clinical setting (40-50 percent of diagnoses). The lifetime risk  of depression in females is 10-25 percent and in males, 5-12 percent. Children and teens who are considered at high risk for depression disorders include:

* children referred to a mental health provider for school problems
* children with medical problems
* gay and lesbian adolescents
* rural vs. urban adolescents
* incarcerated adolescents
* pregnant adolescents
* children with a family history of depression  

If you or your child has one or more of the risk factors and your child is exhibiting symptoms of prolonged sadness, it might be wise to have your child evaluated for depression. MedNet has an excellent article about Depression In Children and how to recognize signs of depression in your child.

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Resources:          

  1. About.Com’s  Depression In Young Children
  2. Psych Central’s  Depression In Young Children
  3. Psychiatric News’  Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression
  4. Family Doctor’s  What Is Depression?
  5. WebMD’s  Depression In Children
  6. Healthline’s  Is Your Child Depressed?
  7. Medicine.Net’s  Depression In Children

Citation:

 “A Test of the Economic Strain Model on Adolescents’ Prosocial Behaviors,” Source: Journal of Research on Adolescence, Volume 21, Number 4, 1 December 2011 , pp. 842-848(7)

Gustavo Carlo of the University of Missouri, Laura Padilla-Walker and Randal Day of Brigham Young University. 

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children

15 Nov

Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.

As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8.

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids.

Anna M. Phillips has written the New York Times article, Calming Schools by Focusing on Well-Being of Troubled Students which describes how one New York school is dealing with its troubled children.

Mark Ossenheimer, principal of the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx, threw out a name to add to the list of teenagers in trouble.

Several teachers and a social worker seated around a table in the school’s cramped administrative offices nodded in agreement. They had watched the student, who had a housebound parent who was seriously ill, sink into heavy depression. Another child seemed to be moving from apartment to apartment, showing up at school only sporadically. And then there was the one grappling with gender-identity issues. Soon the list had a dozen names of students who could shatter a classroom’s composure or a school windowpane in a second.

Convening the meeting was Turnaround for Children, a nonprofit organization that the young-but-faltering school in an impoverished neighborhood near the Bronx Zoo had brought in this year to try to change things.

This is the condition our organization was created to solve,” said Dr. Pamela Cantor, Turnaround’s founder and president. “A teacher who works in a community like this and thinks that these children can leave their issues at the door and come in and perform is dreaming.”

In focusing on students’ psychological and emotional well-being, in addition to academics, Turnaround occupies a middle ground between the educators and politicians who believe schools should be more like community centers, and the education-reform movement, with its no-excuses mantra. Over the past decade, the movement has argued that schools should concentrate on what high-quality, well-trained teachers can achieve in classrooms, rather than on the sociological challenges beyond their doors.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/nyregion/calming-schools-through-a-sociological-approach-to-troubled-students.html?hpw

One strategy in helping children to succeed is to recognize and treat depression.

How Common Is Depression In Children?      

According to Mary H. Sarafolean, PhD in the article, Depression In School Age Children and Adolescents

In general, depression affects a person’s physical,  cognitive, emotional/affective, and motivational well-being, no matter  their age. For example, a child with depression between the ages of 6 and 12 may exhibit fatigue, difficulty with schoolwork, apathy and/or a lack of motivation. An adolescent or teen may be oversleeping, socially isolated, acting out in self-destructive ways and/or have a sense of hopelessness.

Prevalence and Risk Factors

While only 2 percent of pre-teen school-age children and 3-5 percent of teenagers have clinical depression, it is the most common diagnosis of children in a clinical setting (40-50 percent of diagnoses). The lifetime risk  of depression in females is 10-25 percent and in males, 5-12 percent. Children and teens who are considered at high risk for depression disorders include:

* children referred to a mental health provider for school problems
* children with medical problems
* gay and lesbian adolescents
* rural vs. urban adolescents
* incarcerated adolescents
* pregnant adolescents
* children with a family history of depression    
 

If you or your child has one or more of the risk factors and your child is exhibiting symptoms of prolonged sadness, it might be wise to have your child evaluated for depression. 

How to Recognize Depression In Your Child?     

MedNet has an excellent article about Depression In Children and how to recognize signs of depression in your child.

Signs and symptoms of depression in children include:       

* Irritability or anger
* Continuous feelings of sadness, hopelessness
* Social withdrawal
* Increased sensitivity to rejection
* Changes in appetite — either increased or decreased
* Changes in sleep — sleeplessness or excessive sleep
* Vocal outbursts or crying
* Difficulty concentrating
* Fatigue and low energy
* Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that do not respond to
treatment
* Reduced  ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or  interests

* Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
* Impaired thinking or concentration
* Thoughts of death or suicide        

Not all children have all of these symptoms. In fact, most will  display different symptoms at different times and in different settings.  Although some children may continue to function reasonably well in  structured environments, most kids with significant depression will  suffer a noticeable change in social activities, loss of interest in  school and poor academic performance, or a change in appearance.  Children may also begin using drugs or alcohol,
especially if they are  over the age of 12.

The best defense for parents is a good awareness of what is going on with their child. As a parent you need to know what is going on in your child’s world.

Resources:

  1. About.Com’s Depression In Young Children
  2. Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children
  3. Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression
  4. Family Doctor’s What Is Depression?
  5. WebMD’s Depression In Children
  6. Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed?
  7. Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©