Depression on children and teenagers

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) includes a group of affective, cognitive and physical symptoms. The amount of children and teenagers that suffers this disease keeps growing and each year becomes more common, even though the majority of teenagers that suffers from this keep undiagnosed and without any treatment.

What causes depression?

 As in many diseases, there´s not a single cause, but genetics may determine if someone is predisposed or not to suffer from it.

Sexual abuse, abandonment, parents’ divorce, affective loses or natural disasters may precipitate it. In addition, chronic diseases, socioeconomic problems, being part of marginal groups or either bullying facilitate its appearance.

However, in some cases, it appears by its own, without any antecedent underlying.

Which are the symptoms:

 As in any disease, not everyone presents the same symptoms, but who suffers from it, may present:


  • Stop enjoying what usually is pleasurable.

For example playing, traveling, watching T.V, sharing with friends, going to the cinema or dancing.


  • Losing interest on study and low academic performance.

Children and teenagers that suddenly become “bad” students are probably depressed and when they recover from it, improvement is recognizable.


  • Stopping to socialize.

Kids tend to isolate, locking themselves in their rooms, stop speaking or avoid going out.


  • Emotional changes without a clear cause.

Sometimes it is sadness and crying without any reason, other times may be anger and irritability or even worrying and anguish. Sometimes they may be all together at the same time.


  • Negative ideas.

They start thinking they are not capable, intelligent or attractive; may lose hope on future or feel they are less than others are; tend to think on death as a solution and may commit suicide attempts, succeeding in the worst cases.


  • Physical symptoms.

Fatigue, loss of energy, pain without any other medical cause to explain them.


  • Appetite and sleeping changes.

Losing the capacity to have a good sleep, sleepiness, not repairing sleep, losing appetite or exaggerated increase of it that can cause weight changes.


Is there any treatment?

 Depression can be treated; children and teenagers with a diagnosis and treatment appropriately can recover completely.

Searching for professional help is always a good idea.



Oscar Andrés Correa Rico, Scientific director of Pinares Mind & Health.




What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?


Obsessive compulsive disorder characterizes by the presentation of obsessions and compulsions that interfere with the daily routine of a patient.

Obsessions are a setting of thoughts that the individual does not want to have, but repeat in a persistent way on his mind, they are annoying and can generate anxiety and unconformity.

Compulsions are repeated behaviors the patient executes, usually induced by an obsession. With this, its finality is to reduce the anguish, which he achieves, but only to be worsened in the long run.

The most frequent obsessions and compulsions are:

Contamination: the patient worries about being contaminated with dirt or microbes; this induces the patient to wash repeatedly its hands and/or any other body part in a compulsive way. It can also make the patient avoid touching other people or having contact with potentially contaminated equipment.

Order and symmetry: the person worries excessively by the untidiness and seeks to organize his belongings in an exaggerated way, almost perfect, putting his clothes or things on a desk, for example. The person may spend an important part of its time verifying that everything is in a specific order.

Doubt and verification: the patient worries in an excessive way for issues such as properly closing the doors or the gas faucet. The person verifies repeatedly, one time after another, even when he knows everything is right.

Sexually: the individual has insistent and repeatedly sexually charged thoughts, which considers inappropriate and annoying. These thoughts are directed towards people that doesn’t really sexually attract the individual, such as a member of its own family or a religious figures.

Don’t lose the calm, there are safe and effective treatments for the obsessive compulsive disorder. The most important is for you to seek the necessary help in order to have a common daily life again.


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  • When unwanted thoughts take control: Obsessive- Compulsive disorder.
  • What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
  • Oscar Andrés Correa Rico, Pinares Mind and Health psychiatrist.


A mental illness or disorder is an emotional, cognitive and behavioral alteration, in which basic psychological processes such as emotions, motivation, cognition, behavior, perception, among others, are affected. Also, they make people who suffer from them difficult to adapt to the cultural and social environment in which they live.

According to the WHO, mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which the individual enjoys complete physical, mental and social well-being, turning the person aware of his own abilities and facing situations in his daily life.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 people in the world suffers from a mental disorder throughout their lives, estimating that approximately 20% of children and teenagers on the planet have serious mental disorders, making neuropsychiatric disorders among the main causes of disability among young people.

According to the WHO and the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the diagnostic groups who lead to the appearance of a Severe Mental Illness are:

  • Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders: These are characterized by thought disturbances and hallucinations, deteriorating the reality of the person and interfering the social function relations to a great extent. These distortions come from the perception of thought and emotions.
  • Bipolar disorder and major affective disorders: They are characterized by severe alteration of the mood phases, in addition to the depressive manic episodes of the person who suffers it.
  • Personality disorders: These are personality alterations that affect the way of living and relating to the environment. This pathology is due to clinical asymptomatic traits that cause the person to suffer and cause important conflicts in the interpersonal and social relationship.

It is not always easy to recognize the behavior and symptoms of a mental illness, since there is no simple test to know if there is a mental illness, or if some behaviors are typical of a person or are symptoms of a disease. However, each condition has warning signs that may include:

  • Too much feelings of sadness.
  • Excessive worries or fears.
  • Confusion.
  • Extreme changes in mood, even episodes of uncontrollable well-being or euphoria.
  • Extended or strong feelings of anger.
  • Lack of interest in friends and social activities.
  • Difficulties in relating to others.
  • Changes in sleep habits or feeling tired.
  • Changes in Eating Habits.
  • Difficulty in perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations).
  • Substance abuse like alcohol or drugs.
  • Multiple physical ailments without apparent cause.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Impossibility to carry out daily activities.

Do not be afraid to seek professional help if you or someone you know needs it. Get informed and learn about mental health and contact your trusted doctor.

4 habits to prevent mental illness

Mental illnesses are emotional, cognitive or behavioral alterations where emotions and behavior are affected among other elements. In addition, they are characterized by a disturbance on intellectual activity and mood.

There are several myths about whether mental illness can be prevented with basic dietary or routine changes. Despite this, the truth is that such changes can help to maintain a healthy mind to avoid neurological problems that can affect a person’s life completely.

The diagnosis of mental illness [] and its recognition can be achieved by observing the behavior of people, who may be affected by isolation, disinterest, disregard for self-image and aggressiveness. That is why, on many occasions, mental illnesses must undergo treatments with medications and psychological therapies.

However, to avoid getting to the point where the person reaches a critical state, certain habits can be changed in order to reduce the chances of suffering such diseases:

  1. Eat well. It is recommended to consume foods rich in Vitamin B (eggs, bananas, yogurt, avocados, tuna, lentils, among others) and DHA (fish, almonds). This acid-fat improves organism, obtaining better cognitive results like a good memory, greater facility to learn, courage to perform daily tasks and even can have an impact on the personality and the aptitude.
  2. Exercise your body and mind. In addition to exercising for at least 30 minutes, three days a week, it is also recommended to perform intellectual activities such as reading and practicing memory games.
  3. Educate and inform yourself. According to the WHO, one of the most important instruments for health is preventive action through health education. This aspect makes people motivated to learn more about their personal skills and self-esteem; Measures to improve health.
  4. Sleep well. It is generally recommended to sleep about 8 hours at night to have a complete and restful rest. Poor sleep can lead to problems with aggressiveness, cognitive performance, and negatively affect behavior and growth in children and adolescents.

Remember to see a doctor if you feel or observe abnormal behavior in your body or in your loved ones.