Monday, 19 October 2015

Surviving the Hump of Puberty and the Risk of Anxiety Disorders

A study suggests that children who go through puberty at a faster rate have a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression. The authors of the study cautioned parents and caregivers that it is important to closely monitor a child’s behavior during this chaotic period to ensure that challenges or differences in behavior are not symptoms of a mental illness. It can be a difficult time for parents and guardians as many children going through puberty display erratic behavior. Nevertheless, there are a few important notes that each parent and caregiver should know.

Image Source: Thrive For Change

 The first and most relevant is the persistence of the behavior. To be clinically diagnosed as anxiety or depression, the mood has to remain constant and pervasive for at least two weeks. It is not just an on-and-off again mood which eases over time, and which many pre-pubescent teens manifest. Those with anxiety disorders can display a variety of symptoms, but the most common symptom is the feeling of constant agitation, tension, or restlessness. Children and adolescents, in particular, display their anxiety with psychosomatic symptoms, so parents should be on their toes if their child complains of constant tension or sore muscles, a racing heart or sweating, or persistent head or stomachaches. Children with depression will not only be constantly sad but could express feelings of worthlessness or sluggishness. Adolescents could also act out their depression through anger.


Image Source: the Bair Foundation

Parents and caregivers who suspect their child or ward of having a mental illness should immediately consult their nearest psychiatrist.

Dr. Jonathan Lauter, MD specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry. Learn more about child and adolescent mental health by following this Twitter account.