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ADOLESCENT DEPRESSION MYTH? OR FACT!

depression 1d

You don’t have crawl into a dark corner; take a bold step, open the shut door to your emotions, feelings, thoughts and step out into the light.

You don’t have to keep up a smiling face when you are hurt or sad deep inside; take off that mask and seek for help!

Often in life, there are certain events that cause different emotional responses, ranging from excitement, happiness, enthusiasm to fear, anger, disappointment, weariness, tiredness, sadness, etc. This is only natural. But when you allow the feelings of sadness to last for days, weeks or perhaps months and it keeps you from living your normal life, interferes with your normal social activities, enjoyable interests, or schoolwork, such that you are now a shadow of whom you used to be; then what you are feeling is no longer sadness. You may be experiencing Depression.

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Do you often feel so exhausted, not from a stressful day, that when you are asked the question “how do u feel”, the only explanatory response you can give is “Am fine, I just feel tired”? But then you try to sleep to relieve the feelings of tiredness and it doesn’t seem to be able to fix it. Do you feel the need to be alone just by yourself but at the same time not wanting to be lonely? Do you feel the need for friends but you don’t want to socialize or relate with others? Or perhaps you are in a pressurizing situation and you feel worthless, helpless, and hopeless that you decided to shut everyone out? You may be suffering from Depression.

depression 1c

Adolescence is always an unsettling time, with many physical, emotional, psychological and social changes that accompany this stage of their life. When the moods of teenagers disrupt their ability to function on a daily basis, this may indicate a serious emotional or mental disorder that needs attention.

Adolescent depression is a disorder that occurs during the teenage years. It involves persistent sadness, discouragement, loss of self-worth and loss of interest in activities they previously found pleasurable or enjoyable. Depression is associated with an increased risk of suicide and prior studies have revealed that suicide rates among adolescents have nearly tripled in recent times.

Depressive symptoms among adolescents are often attributed to the normal stress seen at this stage of life. This is often misdiagnosed as primarily conduct or substance abuse disorders. Neglecting depression among adolescents can have a tragic effect. Regrettably, adolescents who experience depression at an early age often struggle with depression throughout their lives.


LITERATURE REVIEW

A study carried out in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria (2015) on depression among adolescents in secondary schools between the age range of 9 – 18 years, revealed that the prevalence of moderate depression in adolescent was lowest at the age of 10 and highest at the age of 13. It further revealed that the prevalence of severe depression in adolescents was lowest at the age of 11 and highest at the age of 12. Furthermore, the study revealed that children whose parents are separated showed higher incidences of depression with the female gender at a higher risk.

Another study carried out in Greece (2015) on depression in late adolescence among students in senior high schools between the age range of 16 – 18 years, revealed that 49.38 % of the adolescents with depressive episode had at least one comorbid anxiety disorder. Only 17.08 % of the adolescents with depression have visited a doctor due to a psychological problem during the previous year. It further revealed that anxiety disorders, substance use, female gender, older age, having one sibling, and divorce or separation of the parents were all associated with depression. In addition, the presence of financial difficulties in the family was significantly associated with an increased prevalence of both depression and depressive symptoms in adolescents.

CAUSES

There’s no single known cause of adolescent depression. Some of the factors that could lead to depression in adolescents include:

  • Genetic factors: a family history of first-degree relatives with depression could put a child at higher risk of having depression. Most especially, it could be passed from parent to child.
  • Environmental factors: heartbreak, academic problems, health concerns, or acute stress.
  • Past traumatic event: the loss of a family member or friend; sexual abuse (rape), physical abuse (beating), or emotional abuse (insults, bullying, words of discouragement).
  • Hormonal changes resulting in irregularity in mood and behavior.

Having a pessimistic mindset or thought: a child being surrounded with people or an environment where negative thoughts or way of life, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness is a norm instead of facing challenges head on and a winning attitude; such child can end up not being able to feel positive when in distressing situations.


SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS TO LOOK OUT FOR
depression 1a

Most times it is often difficult for parents to know that their children are suffering from depression. Parents often mistake it for stress, adjustment issues or growing up/puberty. Some of the depressive signs to look out for are:-

  • A decreased interest in activities your child once found pleasurable.
  • Appearing sad, irritable, or tearful.
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness or helplessness.
  • Changes in appetite or unintentional weight gain/weight loss.
  • A decrease in energy (fatigue) and regular complaints of boredom.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • A decline in academic performance.
  • Substance abuse (Drug or Alcohol).
  • Withdrawal from social situations, friends, or after-school activities.
  • Major changes in sleeping habits (Insomnia or Hypersomnia).
  • Recurrent thoughts and talk of suicide, death or attempted suicide.
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment.


EFFECTS

Depression is associated with high levels of stress, anxiety, self-harm and in the worst possible scenarios, suicide. It can also affect a child’s:

  • personal life
  • school life
  • social life
  • family life

This can lead to social isolation and other problems.


TREATMENT

  • Support: ranging from discussing practical solutions and contributing stresses, to educating family members.
  • Psychotherapy: also referred to as talking therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy.
  • Mindfulness Meditation Therapy
  • Biofeedback Therapy
  • Neurofeedback Therapy
  • Audio-visual entrainment Therapy
  • Drug treatmentantidepressants medications.
  • Regular Exercise
  • Adequate sleep
  • Hygienic and balanced diet
  • Avoid substance and alcohol intake

You may be bent, but you are not broken; you may be scarred but you are not disfigured; you may be sad but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost; you may be tired but you are not lifeless; you may be afraid but only you has the power to change that; you may be angry but you don’t have to be bitter. All in all, you may be depressed but do not give up!

– Anonymous

For more information on the therapy procedures visit our website on http://www.mobilehealthconsult.org and remember to follow @DrMorayoJimoh on twitter.

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Take a Stand!

family-therapy-headerThe foundation of our society is built on the bedrock of the family. We all are products of a family regardless of the size and although we may not all be totally pleased with the type of family we come from, it is of no doubt that our families play an integral role in much of what we are right now. This is because most of our strongly held values, beliefs, thought patterns and behaviour are largely influenced by our family.

“Charity they say begins at home” if this is true, it also means that the opposite holds. Hence:

“Dysfunctional homes breeds a dysfunctional society”

Of a truth most of the problems plaguing our society today can be traced back to our homes. It is therefore only logical to see that the solutions to these problems can be sourced from the home front. The family is a microcosm of the larger society which makes it a kind of preparatory school for us to learn the values and ways of life before going out into the world to find our path. These homemade lessons go a long way in determining who we become and our contributions to the society at large. Truly, the importance of families cannot be over emphasized!

But then, if we really pay close attention to the current societal norms, we will realize that the rate at which families are falling apart is quite alarming. Even those that are holding up are doing so on a very thin line that could snap at any moment.

Won’t our societies become totally helpless if this age old heritage goes extinct?

What can we do to preserve our families?

One way to sustain this integral part of our human experience called ‘family’ is through “friendship”. Being friends with our family members will enable us communicate better and help us value one another more.  We all have roles to play here, parents be friends with your children, children be friends with your parents, siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles and grand parents also. When we let ourselves fall in love with our family and appreciate them for who they are and what they mean to us, we are sending positive messages which will reflect back on us thereby making the love go all around.

We get back what we send to the universe and as much as we keep pelting our families with stones of ingratitude,

we are unconsciously reinforcing those behaviours that caused

the problems in the first place!

Rather, we should learn to make excuses for our families… and be willing to give them another chance not a second chance but ANOTHER chance.

No one is perfect, but we can try to get better each time. So our priority should be on helping each other be the best we can be.

The quality of your life can be measured by the impact you make on the lives of others and your home affords you a better opportunity to reach out and touch the lives of people who are really so dear to you.

family-meeting-300x198The greatest possessions we truly have are our family but painfully, we really don’t appreciate them well enough until they are no more. Then we start dwelling on memories…

Don’t let that be your story, express gratitude and re-establish those ties that bind you to your roots.

We need to re-open closed down communication lines and find ways to settle old rifts by forgiving past mistakes and giving chances for reconciliation.

We are family not just because we share the same blood line or name but because we share a heritage that money can’t buy!

Nothing in this world can replace the love, support, care, strength and drive that a healthy family relationship builds in us.

To do better, we need to stand for each other!

The future depends on us, our society needs a change, the human race must continue, our families must be saved!

Do the needful while you still can and take your family to greater heights. Sow new seeds of friendship and you can be assured that you will enjoy all the benefits.

primarycareIt really doesn’t matter how bad things are right now, just start today, make a change today, give your home your best, take a stand and see our world become a better place for us and coming generations.

Follow me on twitter @DrMorayoJimoh for more captivating updates on #TakeAStand!