Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in Children

Young Mother Sewing by Mary Cassatt

Did you know that children can suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)? I’m embarrassed to admit that I just found this out recently, after years of writing about mental health. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a condition that can cause depression, fatigue and overeating, among other things, and it is brought on by the change of seasons. According to Winter Blues by Normal Rosenthal, M.D., a survey done by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) showed that about three percent of children suffer from SAD, with a greater incidence occurring in the last three years of high school.

I’m surprised that it hadn’t occurred to me before. After all, if children could have clinical depression and other depressive disorders, why not SAD? Apparently even animals can suffer from SAD. Of course, it’s worth noting that all creatures on earth have a tendency toward SAD symptoms in the winter, but when normal functioning starts being impaired, it’s time to take a closer look.

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Talk Therapy May Help Depressed Teens Who Shun Antidepressants

(HealthDay News) — Depressed teens who refuse antidepressants may benefit from counseling, a new study suggests.The study included more than 200 teens who were unwilling to take medication to treat their depression. The researchers found that those who tried a type of short-term “talk therapy” — known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) — were more likely to recover than those who didn’t.”High numbers of adolescents experience depression, as many as 10 to 15 percent each year — and up to one in five by age 18,” said lead researcher Greg Clarke. He is a depression investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore.”Unfortunately, most of these depressed teens are not treated. As few as 30 percent get specific depression care,” he said.In many cases, depressed teens refuse to take antidepressants, “often because of side effect concerns,” Clarke said. These include warnings going back to 2004 about suicidal thoughts and behavior related to antidepressant use, the researchers said. Other common side effects from antidepressants include weight gain and fatigue.”Offering brief cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective alternative,” Clarke said. The small to moderate benefits found in this trial may be tied to reduced need for psychiatric hospitalization, the researchers noted.

Source: Talk Therapy May Help Depressed Teens Who Shun Antidepressants

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Depression in Preschool Changes the Brain, Study Shows

A new study adds to growing evidence that depression can affect even very young children.

Only in the past two decades has depression in children been taken seriously. Now, it’s becoming clear that kids as young as three can have major depression. That’s due largely to the work of Dr. Joan Luby, the director of the Early Emotional Development Program at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who is credited with spurring the small but growing body of evidence that preschoolers can experience depression and be successfully treated.

Read on: Depression in Preschool Changes the Brain, Study Shows

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Parents ‘In Denial’ About Teens’ Depression and Anxiety

Parents are in the dark when it comes to dealing with their teens’ anxiety and depression, finds an exclusive new survey conducted by Yahoo Parenting and Silver Hill, a non-profit hospital for the treatment of psychiatric and addictive disorders.

“Everybody is in denial about depression and anxiety,” Aaron Krasner, MD, the adolescent transitional living service chief at Silver Hill, in New Canaan, Conn., tells Yahoo Parenting. “So it makes sense to me that until the sh-t is really hitting the fan, parents and kids aren’t interested in talking about these problems. In some ways, parents don’t want to know and would rather do anything than acknowledge that their kid has a problem.”
Source: Parents ‘In Denial’ About Teens’ Depression and Anxiety

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Kids’ Checkups Should Include Cholesterol, Depression Tests, Doctors Say

HealthDay News — Doctors should test middle school-age children for high cholesterol and start screening for depression at age 11, according to updated guidelines from a leading group of U.S. pediatricians.Doctors should also test older teens for HIV, the AIDS-causing virus, the revised preventive-care recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics say.The new screening schedule provides “the recommended content for a well-child visit,” said Dr. Joseph Hagan, co-editor of the guidelines. “Some changes are small, some will get people’s attention.”

via Kids’ Checkups Should Include Cholesterol, Depression Tests, Doctors Say.

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Children Who Lose Close Relative at Risk of Mental Problems: Study

HealthDay News — Children who experience the death of a family member are at slightly increased risk for psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia later in life, a large new study reveals.The risk is highest among children who had a sibling or parent commit suicide, according to the findings published Jan. 21 in the online edition of the BMJ.Researchers analyzed data from nearly 947,000 children born in Sweden between 1973 and 1985. Of those children, 33 percent experienced the death of a family member before they reached age 13. More than 11,000 children were exposed to death from suicide, more than 15,000 to death from accidents and more than 280,000 to death from natural causes.

via Children Who Lose Close Relative at Risk of Mental Problems: Study.

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Childhood Depression and Sleep Apnea

We have noted a significant correlation between depression and sleep disorders in adults for years. However, in this month’s issue of Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, a study entitled The Relationship between Depressive Symptoms and Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Pediatric Populations: A Meta-Analysis, demonstrated the increased incidence of depression in children from preschool up to age 18 with sleep apnea.

It is well-known that childhood depression is a significant problem. Depression affects 1% of preschoolers, 2% of school-age children, and up to 8% of adolescents. If untreated, it poses a significant risk for increased psychosocial problems, as well as substance abuse and suicide. It is also known that about 2% of all children in this age group suffer from sleep-disordered breathing.

via Childhood Depression and Sleep Apnea – Sleep Answers.

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Preschoolers’ Use of Psychiatric Drugs Levels Off, Study Shows

(HealthDay News) — Doctors don’t seem to be as quick as they once were to reach for their prescription pads when treating preschoolers for mental troubles, a new study shows.

The research, published online Sept. 30 in the journal Pediatrics, looked at recent trends in the use of psychotropic medications — drugs that alter mood or behavior — in children between the ages of 2 and 5.

After reaching a peak between 2002 and 2005, the use of drugs such as stimulants and antidepressants to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression, respectively, leveled off between 2006 and 2009, even though diagnoses of those disorders climbed over the same time period.

via Preschoolers’ Use of Psychiatric Drugs Levels Off, Study Shows.

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Depression in Children: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Introduction

Image: Deborah 1963A few years ago, my mother unearthed some pictures of me as a baby which I had never seen before. One showed me at about eight months old, crawling on the grass of Golden Gate Park. I was looking directly at the camera, my tongue sticking out of the corner of my mouth, and I was laughing. My face was lit from within, and looked happy, confident and even a little mischievous.

I was absolutely transfixed by that photograph for days. I would continually take it out of my wallet and stare at it, torn between laughter and tears. For a while I couldn’t figure out what it was about the picture that drew me. Finally it hit me; this was the only picture of myself as a child that I had seen which showed me laughing. All the photos I had ever seen depicted a child staring solemnly or smiling diffidently, but never laughing. I looked at the Golden Gate Park picture and wished that I had remained that happy, and that depression had not taken away my childhood.

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Suicidal Thoughts More Common in Kids With Autism: Study

HealthDay News — Children with autism may have a higher-than-average risk of contemplating or attempting suicide, a new study suggests.Researchers found that mothers of children with autism were much more likely than other moms to say their child had talked about or attempted suicide: 14 percent did, versus 0.5 percent of mothers whose kids didnt have the disorder.The behavior was more common in older kids aged 10 and up and those whose mothers thought they were depressed, as well as kids whose moms said they were teased.An autism expert not involved in the research, however, said the study had limitations, and that the findings "should be interpreted cautiously."

via Suicidal Thoughts More Common in Kids With Autism: Study.

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