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.