Beware of depressionin your adolescent

2018-02-28 06:00

THE month of October has been declared Mental Health Awareness Month to educate the public and also reduce the stigma and discrimination behind mental health.

The Fever newspapers are urging parents to keep a close eye on their children to pick up on symptoms early.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), many South Africans suffer from anxiety, depression or substance abuse problems. SADAG classifies depression as a mental health and mood disorder that is common but serious.

“Depression causes severe symptoms that affect how one feels, thinks and handles daily activities such as sleeping, eating or working.

“Like any disease, it is important to be diagnosed early considering that the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.

“Over the years there has been a notably high rise in depression in teenagers ... which in some cases ends in suicide, according to Mental Health South Africa.

This disorder is a state of low mood and a strong dislike towards activity, keeping in mind that it may be a normal reaction from a child experiencing certain life events, a symptom of a medical condition or a side effect from medication being consumed but has to be monitored.”

Depression in children is similar to adult major depression disorder although, with children, it may come across more rebellious and aggressive.

“Anger is often referred to as depression turned outward while depression is often anger turned inward which in turn affects the functioning of a human.”

Anger and Stress Management Consultant and Facilitator Alan Symons linked the two concepts.

He said: “I think that there is a link between depression and anger at times. When one experiences uncontrolled anger outbursts, also called venting, there is a feeling of guilt, remorse etc. towards the ones on the receiving end.” Symons continued to add that anger is an emotion like humour and grief.

“A person who has out of control anger needs to see a consultant in anger management to help them identify their triggers.

The consultant will give practical advice and steps to bring the anger under control.

“Some forms of depression, persistent depressive disorder, which is also called dysthymia and is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years.”

He said that perinatal depression, which is more serious than “baby blues”, that affects women before or after giving birth (postpartum depression) where the mother has extreme sadness, anxiety and exhaustion that accompany the perinatal depression, this can also make it difficult for new mothers to do daily activities for themselves and their newborns.

In addition, Symons said: “Psychotic depression which occurs when a person has severe depression plus some kind of psychosis disorder, for example, having delusions or hearing and seeing upsetting things others cannot see or hear ... commonly known as hallucinations.

“Seasonal affective disorder, which is characterised as depression during the winter when there is less sunlight, studies show that this depression usually lifts in spring and summer, winter depression is usually accompanied with social withdrawal, increased sleep, weight gain and it returns annually.”

Symons said that bipolar disorder, is different from depression but is categorised under depression as people experiencing this disorder go through extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major depression known as bipolar depression.”

For more information e-mail, SADAG founder zane@sadag.org

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