Saturday, July 11, 2009

Adolescent Depression?

According to a report released by Dr. Kathie F. Nunley, “Major depression affects one in fifty school children. Countless others are affected by milder cases of depression which may also affect school performance (Lamarine, 1995). The peak age of depression correlates with the peak years of low self-esteem. Feldman & Elliot (1990) write that the prime period for low self-esteem is early and middle adolescence with a peak period between the ages of thirteen and fourteen.”

Yes, the middle school years are rampant with low self-esteem. As children see and feel their bodies changing and their hormones raging out of control, they begin to feel inferior when compared with others. It is also the prime age range in which children believe that everybody is watching their every move!

“One of the factors that makes depression so difficult to diagnose in adolescents is the common behavior changes that are normally associated with the hormonal changes of this period (Lamarine, 1995). It has only been in recent years that the medical community has acknowledged childhood depression and viewed it as a condition which requires intervention.”

As adolescents can often be “moody” week-to-week-, day-to-day, and even seemingly minute-to-minute, the diagnosis of depression can often be overlooked, as many experts simply chalk up unusual adolescent behavior to the fact that the child is …. well, .. an adolescent!

“Historically, children were not considered candidates for depression (Whitley, 1996). Mostly because of Freudian notions about the unconscious, depression had been viewed as a condition which only affected adults. Today, childhood depression is widely recognized and health professionals see depression as a serious condition affecting both adolescents and young children (Whitley, 1996; Lamarine, 1995).

Fritz (1995), writes that depression may often be seen in physical ailments such as digestive problems, sleep disorders, or persistent boredom. Lamarine (1995), considers that in children, depression may often be mistaken for other conditions such as attention deficit disorder, aggressiveness, physical illness, sleep and eating disorders and hyperactivity.”

And that is one of the biggest missed points of all – some students suffer from Depression, yet their parents, educators, and even medical personnel misread or improperly diagnose the child’s issues as ADD, ADHD, and other ailments. Of course, with an improper diagnosis comes improper treatment. While the improperly prescribed treatment might not harm the child, the true issue at hand, Depression, is not being addressed by anybody.

Coming the next two weeks - Symptoms of Depression and Low Self-Esteem. Hang in there – we’ll get you through the years of child-raising in great shape!

Paul W. Reeves

No comments: