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Depression and Manic Depression

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Depression and Children

How does Depression Affect Children and Teens?

Children feel the effects of this mental illness just as much as adults do. Although doctors are sometimes unwilling to diagnose children as young as 8 with depression, it can still exist, and if undiagnosed, it can be as dangerous to a child as an adult.

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In one case, a 8 year old boy was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and was put on stimulants. Soon after, the child -whose parents both have bipolar disorder- became very agitated and hanged himself.
The backround information tells us that depression can be almost hereditary, and therefore, the child may have been underdiagnosed, and may have had bipolar as well.

Bipolar disorder is more likely to affect the children of parents who have the disorder. When one parent has bipolar disorder, the risk to each child is estimated to be l5-30%. When both parents have bipolar disorder, the risk increases to 50-75%.

Treatment of manic depresion has ben changing, especially now with the introduction of anticonvulsants. However, these have "suicide effects", or there are more suicides out of the people on the newer medication than those who are on the lithium.
Suicide is the leading cause of death in 15-19 year olds.

Perhaps the biggest mistake the medical world makes in diagnosing and treating manic depression is the fact that if one episode is treated sucessfully, they don't change the treatment for the next episodes, and the needs may change. This worsens the outlook in the long run.

Sometimes in the treatment, it is not as necessary to keep people from getting ill, as much as to help people cope with the illness they have and to stay with their treatment.