Examining Exercise For Treatment Of Adolescent Depression

stress relief denver chiropractic Examining Exercise For Treatment Of Adolescent Depression

By Dr. Andrea Dunn

Adolescent depression has become a major public health problem with one in 33 children having clinical depression (Mental Health America).  According to the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, the age at first symptom is around 11.  However, the first diagnosis of depression is typically not until the age of 15.  Depression left untreated is linked to school failure, impaired social functioning, teen pregnancy, and suicide.

This means that it is important for parents to pay attention to changes in their children’s behavior and to listen to what they are saying, especially since it has been shown that counseling and resilience training have been found to prevent the onset of depression disorders.  By catching the signs of depression early, parents can advocate for preventative measures, which will enhance their child’s coping skills and resilience.  It may also prevent the development of poor health outcomes and functional impairments, such as lower grades.

Adolescents may not show these signs of depression in the same way as adults and each child is different.  Some adolescents may show signs of hopelessness, have a lack of interest in the things around them such as friends or family, or are unable to concentrate.  Other adolescents may express their symptoms through their irritability and agitation.  These expressions of irritability and agitation can manifest themselves in the form of being fidgety, restless, or moving around more or less than normal.  Or a child’s depression can be expressed through isolating him or herself from others and spending hours watching TV, playing video games, or being on the Internet.  While most adolescents display some of these behaviors, symptoms of depression are usually longer lasting.

Pediatricians, primary care providers, and trained providers at a local community Mental Health Center http://www.cdhs.state.co.us/dmh/directories_cmhc.htm can guide individuals through the treatment process.  Two of the most studied forms of treatment are medication (SSRIs) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  While both are common treatment options and have the most scientific evidence to support their effectiveness, neither is guaranteed.  It is important to remember that treatment is a process of trial and error.  If one option does not work, do not give up.  Instead, pursue another option until the best match is found for your child.

Another option that is being studied more is exercise.  Exercise may help to reduce depressive symptoms and may be a useful coping strategy for adolescents.  Studies have been conducted with adults and found a reduction in depressive symptoms in participants who were receiving the exercise treatment.

If you are interested in learning more about an adolescent depression study in Denver examining the role of exercise to treat depression, please contact the Project Coordinator at (303) 565-4321 x3673 or visit www.DOSEforTeens.org The study is being funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Comment by Dr. Jeffrey Parham: This is an interesting study about examining the role of exercise to treat depression. I like the idea of exercise as an alternative to medication. I would like to see the study expanded at some point to include dietary changes as well as Network Spinal Analysis to reduce Nervous System tone and to improve Nerve energy flow for improved health and wellness. The effects of both diet and improved nerve system balance in the treatment of depression warrant more investigation.

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References

Birmaher B, Ryan ND, Williamson DE, Brent DA, Kaufman J, Dahl RE, Perel J, Nelson B. Childhood and adolescent depression: a review of the past 10 years. Part I. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1996;35:1427-39

Burke KC, Burke JD, Jr., Regier DA, Rae DS. Age at onset of selected mental disorders in five community populations. Arch Gen Psychiatry 47:511-518, 1990.

Dolgan JI. Depression in children. Pediatr Ann 1990 Jan;19(1):45-50

Dunn AL, Trivedi MH, Kampert JB, Clark CG, Chambliss HO. Exercise treatment for depression: efficacy and dose response. Am J Prev Med 28:1-8, 2005.

Harrington R, Fudge H, Rutter M, Pickles A, Hill J. Adult outcomes of childhood and adolescent depression. I. Psychiatric status. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1990 May;47(5):465-73

Kessler RC, Avenevoli S, Ries MK. Mood disorders in children and adolescents: an epidemiologic perspective. Biol Psychiatry 49:1002-1014, 2001.

Kovacs M. Presentation and course of major depressive disorder during childhood and later years of the life span. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1996 Jun;35(6):705-15

McCauley E, Myers K. The longitudinal clinical course of depression in children and adolescents. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 1992;1:183-96

Rao U, Ryan ND, Birmaher B, Dahl RE, Williamson DE, Kaufman J, Rao R, Nelson B. Unipolar depression in adolescents: clinical outcome in adulthood. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1995 May;34(5):566-78

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This entry was posted on January 14, 2011 at 3:57 PM. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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