Youth depression tied to higher risk of diseases and premature death
Depressed children and teenagers have an increased risk of suffering from premature death and a wide range of illnesses later in life, according to a large observational study.
"Our study shows that children and teenagers diagnosed with depression have a significantly higher risk of premature death, self-harm, and suffering from other diseases later in life," says Sarah E. Bergen, senior researcher at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, and corresponding author of the study. "It underscores how important it is that these children and teenagers receive the help they need and that medical personnel monitor for subsequent psychiatric and somatic diseases."
Depression is rarely diagnosed in young children but increases in prevalence through the teenage years. Previous studies have linked depression in adolescents to an increased risk of several adverse outcomes, including atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and premature death. Other psychiatric conditions, such as anxiety and substance use disorder, are also commonly linked.
The study found that children and teenagers with depression had a higher risk of being diagnosed with many medical conditions, including sleep disorders, type 2 diabetes, viral hepatitis, and kidney and liver diseases.
Compared to those without depression, they also had a significantly higher risk of injuries, especially injuries inflicted by self-harm, and an almost six-fold higher risk of premature death.
NAYS provides a free Coaching Children With Mental Health Challenges training for its Member Coaches that covers a broad range of issues children may be dealing with, including depression. It outlines some of the signs that coaches and parents should be on the lookout for that may indicate a child is struggling with depression.
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