Signs to watch for are:
- Decreased interest in friends and activities(like going out to play,attending family get togethers,meeting friends and relatives.)
- Difficulty in getting up on time to go to school or college.
- Lack of interest in school or college activities.
- Difficulty in concentrating on school/college work or in household tasks.Unkempt look(dishevelled hair,not brushing teeth,untidy dress code.)
- Frequent complaints of tiredness and boredom.
- Unexplained aches and pains.
- Either insomnia or oversleeping.
- Trouble getting along with others(may get into fights due to increased irritability.)
- Hypersensitivity to rejection or failure.
- Emotional outbursts such as weeping,anger,shouting.
- Reckless behaviour as in driving a car, alcohol or drug abuse.
- Self abuse or injury.
- Suicidal talk or expression.
- Social withdrawal.(this increases with level of depression.)
- Fall in grades and achievements.
For general information depression is of different kinds like major,dysthymia,seasonal affective disorder,atypical.For the parent or care giver it is important that they recognise the symptoms and seek help.There are several criteria for coming to a diagnosis but they are recognised by trained health personnel. For example DSM IV TR for major depression in adolescents.
Causes and links have been not well defined but hereditary,disbalance of nuerotransmitters,such as serotonin,noreepinephrine and dopamine have been known to cause the symptoms.In children and adolescents a strong link between stressful life events and manifestation of depression seems likely.
Other conditions may co-exist like ADHD,eating disorders,personality disorders substance abuse,anxiety disorders ,oppositional defiant disorders etc.
These and other diseases may be only identified by the physicianIn our society it is considered a stigma to go to a mental health professional so the role of a general practitioner as the final carer is very important.He should refer patient for final diagnosis and treatment and then keep on treating the patient with cooperation.
The out look for treated patients is good. Learning to live with depression is a very long and tedious effort but if optimism is adopted then life can be good.Treatment is now very advanced and easily available but it has to be taken seriously and under good guidance.Never listen to sad anecdotal stories of failure .Always see the silver lining.The new health paradigm is adopting a healthy lifestyle,be it eating,treatment,excercise or therapy.