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Running Head: DEPRESSION 1

Kristy Heckel

HD 300

Dr. Davis

Research Paper

14 April 2017
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Twenty minutes of sunlight before noon will activate certain parts of the brain, when the

sun is at the highest point. It releases serotonin in the brain, which is a natural mood stabilizer

that helps relieve anxiety and depression. Depression is a common but serious mental health

condition that affects an estimated nineteen million Americans regardless of age, race or gender.

(Randolph, S. A., April 2016) Depression can have major effects over not just the person who is

affected with the disease but everyone that is around them. There are many different types of

depression that can range from major depression and persistent depressive disorder to postpartum

depression and seasonal affective disorder. The effects of a trauma, loss of a loved one, difficult

relationships or many other stressful situations can trigger depressive episodes. Many symptoms

that correlate with depression are included but not limited to changes in sleep and appetite, lack

of concentration, lack of interest, low self-esteem, hopelessness, changes in movement and

physical aches and pains. Many symptoms get overlooked and many times its un-recognized and

some never get treated. Early treatment is best and will prevent more serious recurrences. Many

treatments include treating with medications such as anti-depressants also there is

psychotherapy; however, many people use a combination of the both to help them seek long term

success. If depression isn’t treated than that person is at risk to commit suicide and in that case

the person should take consideration in getting professional mental health. Something that many

can also do to decrease their depression is to decrease obesity and cardiovascular disease to

improve stamina and strength. Meditation can also bring in calm and thoughts of well-being.

Many people that do get depressed may be depressed due to their social life but there is

also another experience that can affect the outcome on if someone does get severe depression.

Someone can be born with a predisposition to being depressed for their lifetime because early

life exposures to neurotoxicants often result in developmental deficits. Temperaments can


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reflect on the manner of which the individual interacts and responds to certain social and

emotional environments. Certain distinct temperaments are identifiable in infancy and can

become relatively stable over time. A temperament is a biologically based trait and will affect a

child later when they grow up, they can be both normal and pathological. In utero, the exposure

to the neurotoxicants may cause an effect to the infants’ temperaments. The prenatal exposure to

elemental metals including but not limited to lead and mercury can be known to be detrimental to

cognition and certain behavioral domains in childhood. Many women who do experience toxic

stress, anxiety and/or depression while pregnant are more likely to have children to be at risk to

have many different physical, cognitive and behavioral difficulties. Once a child is born they are

assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, which tests a child for their

motor, language and cognitive development at 24 months of age. The test includes age

appropriate questions that any 24-month-old should know the answers too. Many children fall

into one of the following categories of temperament which is characterized as difficult verses one

that can be more easy-going. The last category can appear to be more intermediate and the child

can perform in a moderate range of performance. The difficult category can be identified to be

more intense and less regulated, the easy-going category is less intense and more regulated, and

the integrated category has a moderate range for most subscales. Women that are pregnant and

have high adjusted depression can later result in the child having a difficult temperament. When

the lead levels and adjusted prenatal depression were low a child will be more likely to

demonstrate an easy or intermediate temperament. If the lead levels increase the child has a

higher probability of demonstrating a difficult temperament. Prenatal and childhood exposure to

maternal depression, lead and mercury have been associated with behavior problems from

middle childhood throughout adolescence. (Stroustrup, A., Hsu, H., Svensson, K., Schnaas, L.,
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Cantoral, A., González, M. S., . . . Wright, R. J. 2016). Many early life behaviors can be

measured as temperaments and psychiatric traits can be determined later in life. Those disorders

can be shown in school-aged children by externalizing or internalizing children and within

ADHD.

Depression is an important and common health problem that is affecting lives of many

children and young adults. Depression can be triggered by many different negative events which

includes stress, loss, or disappointment. The additional risk factors that can be characterized as

vulnerable factors that increase the impact of adverse events, difficulties in family relationships

or friendships, long-term problems in school, difficult events earlier in life, and the personality of

the child/adolescents. Depression incidences increase from childhood onward, it mostly

escalates from adolescences into early adult life. A treatment that is helpful is by catching it

early, if you see something, then you need to say something. If you catch depression early you

can prevent secondary illnesses that occur such as poor physical health hygiene, education

impairment, persisting relationship issues and compromising anti-social tendencies. Treatments

start with many psychosocial interventions and talking therapies, many times medications are

used because talking things out aren’t the only thing that will help. Children and adolescents can

have an interference on their developmental trajectory which in turn have consequences with

self-confidence, self-worth and the capacity to form good relationships. Ways that can be

helpful when it comes to spotting depression in anyone can be getting less pleasure in life, not

eating meals, if they have low self-esteem and confidence or they have a very negative outlook

on life and doesn’t see a positive side to their day. If you see any of these outlooks then you

should be on the look-out because they might be attempting self-harm, suicide attempts or even

doing dangerous things without thinking of the consequences. Depression can lead to changes in
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thoughts, feelings, behaviors and physical experiences. Certain risk behaviors can occur such as

children from the age 11-16, they will push the envelope, start smoking cigarettes, drink alcohol,

use drugs and will cause harm to themselves. (Kelvin, R. 2016). Social isolation and exclusion

from school can also be a factor of risky behavior. A child that has clinical depression are much

more at risk at having significant mental health issues in adult life. Self-harm happens to about a

third of the moderate severe cases, eating disorders, and substance misuse. When working with

children or adolescents it is important to maintain trust which can be hard but worth it. If you

can’t maintain the trust than the child will think that you will have given up on them. Many

doctors go the pharmacological way when dealing with children that are depressed, they give

them antidepressants. They can be helpful however except for the fact that drugs can be

addicting and if the child feels like nothing is working then they might over take the pills that

they use.

Adolescents are at a higher risk of becoming depressed, at this point of their life there are

many worries out there that they don’t know how to control. The third leading cause for death in

youth ages 12-24 years of age happens to be suicide, there have been about 2 million adolescents

that suffered from a major depression disorder however two-thirds didn’t receive treatment. The

United States Preventive Services Task Force(USPSTF) recommends screening all adolescents

12-18 years old for major depressive disorders when adequate systems are in place to ensure

accurate diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. (Young, C. C. 2012) Conducting the screening

should be hosted during a check-up or during a sport physical because it’s an ideal time to do so.

While in the check-up they would be able to get any family history while the child is there and

see if they could be predisposed to depression and if so they can give the family and even the

adolescent the guidance that they need or even pamphlets on the topic for just in case. Many
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symptoms that adolescents will get are including but not limited to insomnia/hypersomnia,

feelings of worthlessness or excessive/inappropriate guilt or fluctuations in weight. The

adolescents with mild depression should be receiving support and be monitored through weekly

and bi-weekly visits for a minimum of 6-8 weeks. Within that time frame if the symptoms

persist treatments with anti-depressants and psychotherapy should be offered to those in need.

Within moderate depression treatments include a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

which should be used while getting a mental health consultation as soon as possible. (Young, C.

C. 2012). Many adolescents with moderately severe or severe depression or problems like

substance abuse should be referred to a psychiatric mental health nurse or a psychiatrist for an

evaluation. Adolescents prescribed with a SSRI should be followed weekly for the first few

weeks just to make sure that they are responding and aren’t having suicidal tendencies or having

adverse effects. While being on the medication within the first three weeks’ adolescents are

more likely to have suicidal thoughts, and will need to be monitored. To minimize the risk there

should be a plan of action just to be on the safe side for just in case there is an emergency. The

medication should be continued for 6 to 12 months if the side effects are under control. Stopping

the medication early could cause a relapse and have an increased risk of failure within future

spells of depression episodes. Adolescents with depression is a major public health concern

especially since they do have recurrent thoughts of death and have suicidal ideas and attempts.

As a teenager and even now I know what it means to be depressed, I used to and still sometimes

do have suicidal tendencies. Many of my friends would never even know how I feel about that

because I was always good at keeping things to myself, no one even knows that I sometimes

contemplate suicide but I know that my family or friends would miss me.
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Randolph, S. A. (April 2016). Depression. Workplace Health & Safety, 64(4), 180-180.
doi:10.1177/2165079916632772
Kelvin, R. (2016). Depression in children and young people. Paediatrics and Child Health,
26(12), 540-547. doi:10.1016/j.paed.2016.08.008
Young, C. C. (2012). Screening for Depression in Adolescents. The Journal for Nurse
Practitioners, 8(1), 73-74. doi:10.1016/j.nurpra.2011.11.008
Weissman, M. M. (2014). Treatment of Depression: Men and Women Are Different? American
Journal of Psychiatry, 171(4), 384-387. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.13121668
Stroustrup, A., Hsu, H., Svensson, K., Schnaas, L., Cantoral, A., González, M. S., . . . Wright, R.
J. (2016). Toddler temperament and prenatal exposure to lead and maternal depression.
Environmental Health, 15(1). doi:10.1186/s12940-016-0147-7
Recommendations on screening for depression in adults. (2013). 775-782. Retrieved April 6,
2017.