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Parenting

New Dads Can Suffer Depression Too

1:45

While a lot of research has been done on post-partum depression among women, new fathers have often been overlooked.  A new study from New Zealand, says new dads can experience similar symptoms during the pregnancy and after the birth of their child.

Expectant and new fathers who are in poor health or have high levels of stress are at increased risk for depression, the research showed.

"It is important to recognize and treat symptoms among fathers early and the first step in doing that is arguably increasing awareness," said a team led by Lisa Underwood of the University of Auckland.

The study involved more than 3,500 men. The average age was 33 years old. They were interviewed when their partner was in her third trimester of pregnancy and then again, nine months after the birth of their infant.

Elevated depression symptoms were reported by 2.3 percent of the men during their partner's pregnancy and by 4.3 percent of the men nine months after their child was born, Underwood's team found.

Men who were under a lot of stress or in poor health experienced elevated depression symptoms, the findings showed.

Other, social or relationship factors such as no longer being in a relationship with the mother and/or unemployed also increased the odds for being depressed after their newborn arrived, the study authors noted.

Other mental health experts agree that depression in new dads is understudied and not often considered when dads are feeling the nervousness of welcoming a child into the household.

Dr. Tina Walch, medical director at South Oaks Hospital in Amityville, N.Y., noted that understanding and spotting the signs of paternal depression early "is the first step toward prevention or early treatment and improved health outcomes for fathers, mothers and their children."

More often than not, moms-to-be garner most of the attention during and after the birth of a child. They are after all, the one carrying and delivering a newborn in to the world. Dads have frequently been overlooked during the whole process. Not only do new moms sometimes need help with post-partum depression or just dealing with the overwhelming responsibility that comes with having a child, dads do too. If they seek help and reach out for support, the family unit can be better for it.

The study was recently published online in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Story source: Robert Preidt, http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20170216/hey-fellas-depression-can-strike-expectant-and-new-dads-too

Daily Dose

Post Partum Depression

1:30 to read

If you watch Nashville (which I love), you know that the character Juliet Barnes is dealing with post partum depression. Unfortunately, so is Hayden Panettiere who plays Juliet. Fortunately, she recognized her problems and is seeking professional help in a treatment center.  Post partum depression occurs in up to 10-20% of new mothers and the signs and symptoms may occur from days to months after your baby is born, but unfortunately in up to 50% of cases the symptoms may go unrecognized.  

It is not unusual for a new mother to experience post partum “baby blues” which may cause many differing symptoms including anxiety, sadness, mood swings, crying, difficulty sleeping and a feeling of being overwhelmed. In fact, what new parent doesn’t feel overwhelmed at times (maybe throughout parenting).  But these “baby blues” usually only last a few days to a few weeks and then improve.

At first, post partum depression may mimic “baby blues”, but the signs and symptoms are usually more severe and last longer.  Post partum depression causes not only depression and mood swings, but excessive crying, difficulty bonding with the baby, withdrawal from family and friends, irritability, anger, difficulty concentrating, feelings of inadequacy and severe anxiety and panic attacks. It effects different people in different ways, but in many cases it interferes with a mother’s ability to care for her baby of to even handle daily tasks. In some severe cases it causes suicidal thoughts, or even thoughts of harming the baby.

While it remains unclear as to the cause of post partum depression it seems there are probably multiple factors at work including a drop in hormones (both estrogen and progesterone) after delivery as well as emotional issues (lack of sleep, appetite, anxiety, body image concerns)…and all of these probably play a role. People who have had a past history of depression also seem to be at more risk.

I have had patients with fairly severe post partum depression, and several have required hospitalization.  The most important thing is to recognize the symptoms and to ask for help!! It is not a sign of being an “inadequate or bad mother”, but rather an illness that requires treatment and should never be ignored. It requires not only medical support, but family and friends support.

I am currently seeing a new mother who is dealing with a post partum depression.  She knows the symptoms and had hoped that they would not re-occur after the birth of her second child. She knew that she had “a higher risk” of developing post part depression as she had it after the birth of her first baby ….but she had hoped and prayed that it would not strike twice. As “smart” as she is intellectually, it has still been emotionally difficult for her to give the baby a bottle at night so that she may get more sleep, and to let others help her with her two year old..as she feels “guilty” that she is not available all of the time. She relies on a lot of support from her husband and other family members and is “trying to listen” to her doctors, and she has started medication and is seeing a therapist.  In other words she is being proactive and doing everything she can! Kudos to her. 

If you or any of your friends has symptoms of post partum depression don’t ignore it or “fake it” that you are okay…left untreated the consequences could be serious. GET HELP….it is so important for both you and your child.    

Your Teen

Experts Recommend Screening All Teens for Major Depression

1:30

Studies indicate that one-in-five U.S. children have some for of mental, behavioral or emotional problems.  Among teens, one –in- eight may suffer from depression with only about 30 percent receiving any treatment.  Those are troubling statistics for parents, caregivers and health professionals.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), believes more needs to be done to help these children and has recommended that primary care physicians screen all patients between the ages of 12 and 18 for major depression.

Screening tools are available to help primary care doctors accurately identify major depression in adolescent patients, and there are effective treatments for this age group, the task force said.

"Primary care clinicians can play an important role in helping to identify adolescents with major depressive disorder and getting them the care they need. Accordingly, the task force recommends that primary care clinicians screen all adolescents between 12 and 18 years old for this condition," task force member Dr. Alex Krist said in a USPSTF news release.

Currently, there isn’t enough evidence to know whether screening children 11 and younger would be beneficial. The task force noted that more research on depression screening and treatment in this age group is needed.

The consequences of undiagnosed and treated major depression in teens can have serious consequences such as involvement in the criminal justice system, drug or alcohol abuse and in some cases, suicide.

"It is important to take any concern about depression seriously, regardless of age, and any parent who has a concern about their child's mood or behavior should talk with their child's primary care clinician," he said in the news release. Kemper is a professor of pediatrics at Duke University School of Medicine, in Durham, N.C.

The recommendation was published online Feb. 9 in the Annals of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics.

For more information about child and teen depression, one resource is The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at http://www.aacap.org.

You can also talk with your family doctor or pediatrician if you feel your child is suffering from depression. They should have resources for you as well.

Source: Robert Preidt, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20160208/doctors-should-screen-teens-for-major-depression-us-task-force-says

 

 

Daily Dose

Depression and Our Children

Depression among children and particularly adolescents is on the rise and I wish we could figure out all of the reasons. Having just lost a friend's son to suicide bring this issue even closer. Every day I see teens who are sad, stressed, overwhelmed and ultimately depressed. Although it is a time consuming appointment, I am lucky when a teen opens up to me about their feelings and fears, and we can find them the doctors and counselors they need to help them.

There are a myriad of causes of depression, and we know genetics plays an important role. But the society in which are kids are living is also a factor. Too many of these kids feel enormous pressures from academics, from their friends, and their family. The peer pressure they feel is enormous, and somehow they feel they are alone in all of this. If you have a child that is feeling sad, lonely, has changes in their behavior and mood, has sleep problems, complaints of always feeling tired, and just doesn't seem right, and these symptoms are persistent, call your doctor and take your child for a visit and determine if they are depressed. It may save a life. That's your daily dose, we'll chat tomorrow.

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Your Teen

Kid's Poor Sleep Habits and Depression

1.50 to read

A 2010 study of 392 boys and girls published online in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that those who had trouble sleeping at 12 to 14 years old were more than two times as likely to have suicidal thoughts at ages 15 to 17 as those who didn't have sleep problems at the younger age.Scientists are discovering that children with chronic sleep problems are at increased risk for developing a mental illness later in life.

Recent studies show that children who have persistent sleep problems, such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or not getting enough night-time shut-eye, are more likely later to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders and to abuse alcohol and drugs than kids without sleep problems. The findings add to previous research that has linked children's sleep problems to a host of issues, including aggressive behavior, learning and memory problems and obesity. A 2010 study of 392 boys and girls published online in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that those who had trouble sleeping at 12 to 14 years old were more than two times as likely to have suicidal thoughts at ages 15 to 17 as those who didn't have sleep problems at the younger age. In a study published last year in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, involving 386 participants, children whose mothers reported that they were overtired when 3 to 8 years old were 2.8 times as likely to binge drink when they were 18 to 20 years old. And a study of 1,037 children revealed that 46% of those who were considered to have a persistent sleep difficulty at age 9 had an anxiety disorder at age 21 or 26. By comparison, of the children who didn't have sleep problems at age 9, 33% had an anxiety disorder as young adults, according to the research, which was published in 2005 in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. Scientists caution that some study-sample sizes are small and research is still in its early stages. Psychiatrists and psychologists say they hope that by addressing sleep problems in childhood, some of the instances of later mental illness can be prevented. Clinicians also have developed effective treatments for poor sleep and are experimenting with some new approaches that teach kids how to reduce the frequency and strength of anxious thoughts that can crop up at night. In general, doctors do not recommend using medication to help kids sleep. "We think that healthy, optimal sleep may be a buffer against developing anxiety and depression in kids," says Ronald E. Dahl, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a leading researcher on pediatric sleep. Anxiety disorders and depression are the most common mental illnesses: 28.8% of the general population will have an anxiety disorder in their lifetime and 20.8% will have a mood disorder, according to a 2005 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Anxiety disorders emerge early in life: The median age of onset is 11, according to the study. Rates of depression spike in adolescence, too. And those who develop depression young tend to have a more serious disease, with a higher risk of relapse. Scientists aren't certain as to why poor sleep in childhood increases the risk of anxiety disorders and depression. It could be that sleep problems lead to changes in the brain, which, in turn, contribute to the psychiatric illnesses, they say. Or some underlying issue, partly explained by genetics and early childhood experiences, could be a precursor to both poor sleep and the mental disorders. Researchers say that before puberty—between the ages of about 9 and 13—is a key time to tackle poor sleep. That's before the spike in rates of depression and the upheavals of adolescence and while the brain is still very responsive. "The brains of children are far more plastic and amenable to change," says Candice Alfano, assistant professor of psychology and pediatrics at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Sleep changes dramatically after puberty: Circadian rhythms shift so kids naturally stay up later. With schools starting early, kids often don't get enough sleep. Academic and social pressures surge, too. A small study suggested healthy sleep may be able to help protect kids from depression—even those at high-risk because of genetics. (Both anxiety disorders and depression are believed to be partly inherited.) The study, published in 2007 in the journal Development and Psychopathology, found that children who fell asleep quicker and spent more time in the deepest stage of sleep were less likely to develop depression as young adults. A larger body of research shows that improving sleep in kids and adults who already have mental-health problems also leads to a stronger recovery. A Good Night Most parents underestimate the amount of sleep children should get a day. They need: Infants: 14 to 15 hours Toddlers: 12 to 14 hours Preschoolers: 11 to 13 hours School-age kids: 10 to 11 hours Teenagers: 9 to 10 hours Strategies to encourage healthy sleep in kids Set a regular bedtime and wake time, even on weekends. Make the bedroom a dark and quiet oasis for sleep. No homework in bed. Create a calming bedtime routine. For younger kids: a bath and story. For older kids: Reading or listening to mellow music. Limit caffeine consumption, especially after 4 p.m. Ban technology (TV, Web surfing, texting) in the half hour before bed. The activities are stimulating. The light from a computer can interfere with the production of the sleep-promoting hormone, melatonin. Don't send kids to bed as punishment or allow them to stay up late as a reward for good behavior. This delivers a negative message about sleep. Help kids review happy moments from the day. Have them imagine a TV with a 'savoring channel.' Relegate anxious thoughts to 'a worry channel.'

Your Child

Depressed Children Benefit From Music Therapy

1:45

Can music therapy help young children and adolescents suffering from depression? A new study finds that allowing children to create their own music can help them recover from depression and low-self esteem.

In a study published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, scientists at Bournemouth University in England and Queen's University Belfast recruited 251 children between the ages of 8 and 16 years old. All the children were being treated for emotional, developmental or behavioral problems. The study included 128 children that received a typical treatment program, and 123 that received music therapy in addition to typical treatment. The research took place between March 2011 and May 2014.

Children assigned to the experimental group received the Alvin model of "free improvisation," which encouraged them to create their own music and sound using their voice, instrument, or movement while receiving encouragement. Instruments included guitars, keyboards, drums, and xylophones.

According to the authors, participants treated with the supplementary music therapy had significantly reduced depression and higher self-esteem than those who were treated with typical methods only. Children treated with music therapy also had improved communicative and interactive skills. Early findings indicate that the benefits are sustained in the long term.

"This study is hugely significant in terms of determining effective treatments for children and young people with behavioral problems and mental health needs," first author Sam Porter said in a press release. "The findings contained in our report should be considered by healthcare providers and commissioners when making decisions about the sort of care for young people that they wish to support."

It’s not surprising that creating music can help lift depression. All music is feeling. Composers, songwriters and instrumentalist use music to express all kinds of emotions from joy and excitement to grief and loneliness. Love, or the lack of it, is the most written about human experience. Rhythm and movement can give expression to deeply held convictions or emotions. Allowing children to express those emotions with music in a safe environment may help break the loop of insecurities and fears in their head.

"Music therapy has often been used with children and young people with particular mental health needs, but this is the first time its effectiveness has been shown by a definitive randomized controlled trail in a clinical setting," music therapy partner Ciara Reilly said. "The findings are dramatic and underscore the need for music therapy to be made available as a mainstream treatment option."

Going forward, researchers plan to evaluate how cost-effective music therapy is compared to more conventional methods.

Story sources: Ryan Maass, http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2016/11/03/Music-therapy-helps-children-with-depression-study-finds/8461478179665/

http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/mood-disorders/music-therapy-reduces-depression-in-kids/article/379121/

Image courtesy of: https://tcmusicnewsandnotes.wordpress.com/page/22/

Your Teen

Too Much TV Can Make Teens Depressed

A new study reports that greater exposure to TV during the teenage years appears to raise the risk of depression in young adulthood, especially among boys.Parents now have a legitimate reason to be concerned that their teen may be watching too much television. A new study reports that greater exposure to TV during the teenage years appears to raise the risk of depression in young adulthood, especially among boys.

The report appears in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Dr. Brian A. Primack at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and his colleagues studied the media habits over 4-thousand healthy, non-depressed teens. Researchers asked them how many hours they spent during the week watching TV or videos, playing computer games or listening to the radio. The report shows the teens had an average of 5.68 hours of media exposure each day, including 2.3 hours of TV viewing per day. Seven years later, at the average age of 21.8 years old, the study subjects were screened. 308 (7.4 percent) of the subjects had developed symptoms of depression. The report also showed the teens had a statistically significant greater likelihood of developing depression in young adulthood. Young women were given the same amount of media exposure, but the report showed they were less likely to develop symptoms of depression than young men.

Daily Dose

Earlier Bedtimes May Fend Off Teen Depression

1.15 to read

A new study shows that one key to having happy and less depressed children is to have earlier bedtimes.A new study confirms something pediatricians and parents already suspected: one key to having happy, healthy and less depressed children is to have earlier bedtimes.

The study was conducted by researchers at Columbia University and appears in the journal Sleep. It shows that adolescents and teens with strict bedtimes of 10 p.m. or earlier were less likely to be depressed and to have suicidal thoughts than their classmates whose parents allowed them to stay up till midnight or even later. Another study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health examined the sleep habits of more than 12,000 high school students and found that a mere eight percent are getting at least the recommended nine hours of sleep per night. The Columbia researchers found that bedtimes set by parents were almost as important as the total number of hours slept. Kids who were sent to bed at midnight or later were 24 percent more likely to be depressed and 20 percent more likely to have thoughts about suicide compared to teens whose lights had to be off by 10 p.m. The researchers surveyed 15,000 children in grades seven through 12 and their parents and found that more than two-thirds of the adolescents said they went to bed when they were supposed to. For 54 percent of kids, that's 10 p.m. or earlier on school nights. Another 21 percent must go to bed by 11 p.m, and 25 percent go to bed at midnight or later. The teens were also asked to fill out depression questionnaires and were asked whether they had seriously thought about suicide over the past year. Scientists have long known that there was a link between depression and poor sleep. But there has always been a question as to whether the depression caused insomnia or whether poor sleep led to depression. The fact that parent-enforced bedtimes play such a significant role suggests lack of sleep may actually be a cause, not just an effect of depression. As you know, I believe it's critical for all teens to have a firm bedtime.  Begin winding down their night by turning off all electronics 1/2 hour before they head to bed. No TV on in the background and their cell phone should be charging on the family docking station in the kitchen. Tuck your teen in tonight at a reasonable hour...it's good for both parent and teen. That's your daily dose for today. We'll chat again tomorrow.

Daily Dose

Monitor Your Busy Teen for Depression

1:30 to read

THis is hard fo rme to admit, but I am beginning to see a fair amount of adolescent kids (way too many!) who are feeling overwhelmed with school and all of the other things thing have going on in their lives.

For many of my patients the day begins before dawn as they head out the door (frequently without breakfast) to begin their very long day. Many have before school practice for drill team, band or even an off-season sport that involves an early workout. These teens then get finished with their early morning commitments just in time to shower and head to class. Still, no time to eat or even down a smoothie or granola bar, or so they say. Next comes a full day of classes, often with honors and AP classes (up to five in one semester) with a 30 minute break for lunch, if they choose to eat. For those that do eat, it is not a well-balanced lunch, but rather pizza, hamburgers, or a bagel and Gatorade. Remember this is the first food they have had since the previous night (when I am sure they went to bed far too late).

As the end of the school day approaches many of these teens will head to after-school jobs, or extracurricular activities such as yearbook staff, newspaper staff, debate team or a different athletic team than their morning workout. If they remember, they might eat a Power Bar, or grab a Red Bull or Starbucks to keep them going until they eventually head home. For many they will not get home from their school day until long after dark with a lot more still to do. Hopefully, these kids will manage to sit down for dinner (can we say well-balanced) with some family member (many may have already eaten earlier), but they jump right up after gobbling down their food, to head off to do homework.

For many high school students, especially those carrying a heavy pre-college load, there may be several hours of homework, which won’t be finished until 11 p.m. or later if they are lucky. Somewhere they will also fit in on-line computer time to catch up on FaceBook, or emails and texts, while doing a multitude of other things like watching their favorite TV show that has been recorded to fit their schedule. Many report that they have difficulty falling asleep. DUH – their brains are on overload and can’t stop, and then they only get about five to six hours of sleep a night. With all of that being said I can totally understand how stressed out our adolescents are. They want to succeed, they want to be involved, and they constantly worry about what lies ahead. There are actually seventh and eighth graders already talking about SAT prep, and college resumes as if they were already high school juniors. How is this happening? How can we stop this out of control pressure? I certainly don’t know how to solve all of the issues surrounding adolescent stress, but I do know that parents can play an active role in helping their teens manage their time.

While we don’t want to be overly involved or helicopter parents, parents do need to discuss the issues of stress and over commitment when they see their child struggling. Sometimes it is appropriate to step in and say, “I see you need some help with this” and work together on time management. The days will come all too soon when you are not there to help lead the way or ensure that your son or daughter eats breakfast and dinner, or gets enough sleep. For many teens just helping them see the “big picture” and re-adjusting their schedule a bit, will be all they need to feel a little less pressure. Sometimes, they just need to talk about it and will move on. But if your adolescent seems to be overwhelmed, and is getting more anxious or depressed, make sure to talk to their doctor about getting some professional help. There are many people ready to help our teens, we parents just have to recognize when it is needed.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow. What do you think?  I welcome your comments and thoughts below!

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