Depression Starts Earlier Than Expected

A shocking number describes the state of depression in the America. Though the number may be small, the demographic it focuses on is disturbing. Two percent of preschoolers in America are depressed. Young children under the age of five can meet the diagnostic criteria for depression. Most often when discussing depression, there is talk about noticing signs of depression throughout early childhood and adolescence. During the transition from adolescence to young adulthood, those symptoms can worsen significantly. Depression often takes form in teenagehood and becomes a severe problem if it goes untreated into adulthood. Now there is an understanding that depression is developing in the earliest stages of life, setting up a lifetime of need for mental health care.

Depression is a commonly co-occurring with substance use disorders and it is also a symptom which comes with substance abuse. Mental health conditions of any kind, like depression, create a higher risk for developing a substance abuse problem. Young children who are starting to struggle with depression at such young ages might develop personality traits associated with depression which could further increase their chances of picking up drugs and alcohol. Impulsivity, risk-taking, and thrill seeking are common. In addition, drugs and alcohol create a sense of euphoria and pain relief. When someone with feelings of depression discovers the feelings of being drunk or high, it can feel like they’ve discovered a new way of living. The pleasurable sensations produced by drugs and alcohol in the brain are a welcome relief to the many symptoms of depression which can feel like living in a gray fog.

The need to focus on mental health in school is becoming more recognized. School teachers and nursing staff can be the first to notice signs of mental health conditions in young children since they spend most of the hours of the day together. Too often mental health conditions in children are written off as symptoms of development and adjustment rather than implications of a deeper mental health problem.

Cottonwood Tucson is a leading treatment provider for co-occurring disorders like depression and substance abuse. Our residential treatment programs for mental health are recognized internationally for clinical excellence and integrative care. We offer youth programs in addition to adult programs and a full spectrum of care options. Call us today for information and daily rates: (888) 727-0441

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