Major Depressive Disorder

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Major Depressive Disorder and Societies Youth

Lisa Somerville

Argosy University- Nashville Campus

December 13, 2007

Abstract

In an attempt to better understand depression in today’s youth, I have chosen to explore the depths of Major Depressive Disorder and how it affects the young people in our society. Depression amongst school age children and adolescents are the primary focus. The prevalence, adversities, and treatment of the depression are discussed as well. After exploring these few facets of the disorder, I will talk briefly about the Ecological Model developed by Urie Bronfenbrenner and Morris in 1998 that is used by counselors to help evaluate and assess the children who are referred by teachers or medical physicians.

Major Depressive Disorder and Societies Youth

Major Depressive Disorder in the DSM IV is determined by depressive episodes that last at least 2 weeks at which time a depressed mood is present or there is a loss of interest and or pleasure in the day to day activities. For society’s children, the mood may appear to be one of irritability rather than a look of sadness. Symptoms of a depressed individual are: feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, agitation, guilt, difficulty thinking and focusing, fatigue, loss of appetite, recurrent thoughts of suicide or death, withdrawal and insomnia. Major Depressive Disorder is a mood disorder that is hard to detect in children. Children tend to lack the abilities at such young ages to express their emotional and cognitive state of mind. A child’s developmental progress or lack of may affect the process of diagnosis because the child is either unable to articulate their emotional state or are possibly exaggerating, maybe even misunderstanding what they are feeling. School age children illustrate behavioral problems, lack of interest and troubles with academia. Adolescent children tend to be withdrawn, lethargic and fatigued while having loss of appetite, and later in the teen years may contemplate suicide. There may be a comorbid condition present at the time of assessment that may alter the diagnosis, and allow the depression to go undetected by professionals (Journal of the American Academy of Physicians, Sept. 2004).

Depression is prevalent in youth who have at least one primary family member who suffer or have suffered from acute or chronic depressive episodes. There is a close relationship and proven correlation with biological attributes that contribute to youth depression. 70% of children who have depression also have at least one other psychiatric comorbidity. (Journal of the American Academy of Physicians, Sept. 2004, para.14). The onset of Major Depressive Disorder affects approximately 4% to 8% of the adolescent youth in our society. (Patient Care for the Nurse Practitioner, Oct. 2002. para. 2). There has been a lifetime risk factor attached to children of parents who are depressed. It states that 15-60% of children who come from depressive parents will suffer some time in their lives. During the adolescent years, girls are more likely to develop depressive moods because of the peer pressure and image concerns that plague our societies. Girl’s reach puberty faster and develop sooner emotionally and physically, therefore; research has shown a huge correlation between life situations and the affects of environment on depression in youth. Girls are socially more dependent on peers observations and opinions. Gender amongst youth plays a large role in the prevalence during adolescent years. Boys, unless affected by home life, environment, socioeconomic concern or abandonment issues tend not to be as affected during these crucial years by depression. Although not as prevalent in boys, research doesn’t exclude their side of the spectrum.

Exploration of this topic requires that the discussion on adversities be a topic of interest. As stated prior, environment plays a constructive role in the development of mood disorders....
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