Saurabh was a happy child above average in studies and jolly by nature, he was in 5th grade and his school was changed because his parents wanted to shift him into a more equipped educational facility. The school change caused a gradual change in Saurabh’s behavior. He became moody & brooding, ate less & avoided going out or playing with friends. His grades were going down, which added to his woes. He frequently complained of nausea and stomach ache. He was taken to a pediatrician but clinical assessment & investigations revealed no physical anomaly. His parents decided to consult the school counselor.
After a few sessions with the school counselor, she held a meeting with the parents & indicated that Saurabh was showing signs of major depressive disorder. Saurabh’s parents were furious at the implications & declined to submit to that fact that a 10 year healthy child from a happy family with no psychological stressors was being labeled as a psychiatric patient.
In the meantime, Saurabh became further withdrawn. He refused to go to school and reported stomach aches or vomiting. His parents tried to encourage him but started to lose patience. Saurabh’s performance was deteriorating and his declining mental and physical health was becoming a matter of great concern for his parents.
The reason why Saurabh’s parents opted for medical advice:
On February 2017, a school staff found a boy standing on the parapet of the top floor school building and he asked him to return to his classroom immediately. The school authorities were also informed about Saurabh’s actions and sudden suicidal tendencies. Saurabh was weeping and reported his feeling of sadness & loneliness to his parents.
Saurabh’s parents wasted no time and decided to consult Dr Jyoti Kapoor Madan, Senior Consultant Psychiatry, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon, a specialist in dealing with personality disorders, adolescent adjustments, depression as well as anxiety spectrum disorders. On consultation and detailed history analysis, Dr Jyoti found that the family had a history of psychiatric disorders. Saurabh’s grandfather suffered from Depression and his maternal uncle had committed suicide at the age of 25.
Medical advice a must to treat Depression in Children :
Dr Jyoti Kapoor Madan shares, “In most cases of depression, around 50% of the cause is genetic, and around 50% is unrelated to genes (psychological or physical factors). There are certain triggers that cause the depression episodes. Sudden changes in life patterns or loss of a loved one are common triggers. In Saurabh’s case the change of his school could have acted as the trigger.”
Dr Jyoti also states, “Common signs and symptoms of Depression on children includes:
- Irritability or anger
- Continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Social withdrawal
- Increased sensitivity to rejection
- Changes in appetite — either increased or decreased
- Changes in sleep — sleeplessness or excessive sleep
- Verbal outbursts or crying
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue and low energy
- Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that don’t respond to treatment
- Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Thoughts of death or suicide
It is important to be aware of these symptoms and consult a medical professional such as a Psychiatrist at the earliest. Saurabh was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, a clinical condition caused by a neuro chemical disturbance, which is a biological cause. It can strike at any age without any known reason. Such cases need medical attention and advice from a psychiatrist.”
Saurabh was prescribed treatment with medication and psychotherapy. Within 2 weeks of treatment, Saurabh started to show signs of improvement. He has started to feel better and is going back to his normal routine.