Re­duc­ing de­pres­sive symp­toms in teens

More young peo­ple to­day are re­port­ing per­sis­tent feel­ings of sad­ness and hope­less­ness and sui­ci­dal thoughts.

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Front Page -

NEW RE­SEARCH in the US sug­gests that the bond be­tween par­ents and children could af­fect their symp­toms of de­pres­sion, find­ing that when ado­les­cents’ symp­toms im­proved with treat­ment, par­ents’ symp­toms also showed im­prove­ment. The long-term study by re­searchers at North­west­ern Univer­sity looked at 325 teens who had been di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion, and 325 of their par­ents or care­givers.

The teens were ran­domly as­signed to one of three treat­ment groups for a one-year pe­riod -- those who re­ceived cog­ni­tive be­havioural ther­apy, which helps pa­tients iden­tify and re­solve neg­a­tive thoughts and be­hav­iour, those who took an an­tide­pres­sant, and those who used a com­bi­na­tion of both. The treat­ments were not fam­ily-based, although some parts did in­clude the par­ent. Be­fore the treat­ment be­gan, a quar­ter of the par­ents re­ported mod­er­ate to se­vere lev­els of de­pres­sion.

When the teens had com­pleted the treat­ment, and af­ter an ad­di­tional year of fol­low-up vis­its, the re­searchers found that de­spite the treat­ment process fo­cus­ing on the children and not the par­ents, when the sever­ity of an ado­les­cent’s de­pres­sion less­ened, so did sim­i­lar symp­toms in the par­ent, re­gard­less of what treat­ment was used.

“De­pres­sion is a mas­sive pub­lic health con­cern that will take a va­ri­ety of ap­proaches to bet­ter man­age. We be­lieve our study is among the first to eval­u­ate how the emo­tional health of a child can im­pact that of the par­ent,” said study co-author Mark A. Rei­necke, PhD. Study co-author Kelsey R. Howard also noted that the new find­ings could be use­ful for health­care providers, as they could con­sider as­sess­ing a par­ent’s level of de­pres­sion when treat­ing their child.

“More young peo­ple to­day are re­port­ing per­sis­tent feel­ings of sad­ness and hope­less­ness and sui­ci­dal thoughts,” said Howard. “At the same time, suicide rates have climbed in nearly all US states. This re­search may help health care providers as we grap­ple as a na­tion with how to ad­dress these alarm­ing trends.”

“The con­cept of emo­tions be­ing ‘con­ta­gious’ and spread­ing from per­son to per­son is well-known by psy­chol­o­gists,” she added. “This work opens up a range of pos­si­bil­i­ties for fu­ture re­search on the fam­ily-wide ef­fects of treat­ment for ado­les­cent de­pres­sion.” The find­ings were pre­sented at the an­nual con­ven­tion of the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion in San Fran­cisco.– Re­laxnews

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