Almost 20% of children and adolescents can be affected by psychiatric disorders, and up to 60% of these patients could suffer relapses when they reach adulthood, according to sources from the Alicia Koplowitz Foundation, the organization's responsible, together to the Jiménez-Díaz Foundation, of the VI Scientific Conference on psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence.
The coordinator of scientific programs of the Alicia Koplowitz Foundation, Elena Guisasola, explained that it has been shown that between 23 and 61 percent of children and adolescents diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder will later suffer some pathology of the disease. same nature and that, for this reason, an early diagnosis, with the consequent treatment, is essential to mitigate the seriousness that the condition may acquire in the future.
Enrique Baca García, head of the Psychiatry service of the Jiménez Díaz Foundation, also insists on the importance of detecting the disorder as soon as possible, in order to initiate the treatment and thus reduce the risk of relapse when the patient reaches adulthood and, in If it occurs, know what to expect and not have to waste time trying to find out the problem.
Among the most frequent psychiatric problems during childhood and adolescence are depressive disorders. It is estimated that depression has a prevalence of between 1 and 2 percent in children and between 4 and 8 percent in the case of adolescents.
Experts point out that certain genetic factors they favor its appearance. Baca states that, in the case of depression, having a family history is a risk factor, and that young people feel pressured by social demands and family expectations, which are now greater than years ago, and that can cause frustration. the minors.
Young people feel pressured by social demands and family expectations, which are now greater than years ago, and that can cause frustration for children
Warning signs in case of child depression
Although depression is usually related to sadness and crying, the president of the Spanish Society of Child Psychiatry of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, Josep Cornella, warns that the depressive child sometimes shows totally opposite symptoms, such as, for example, a kind of hyperactivity, which can be considered as a forward flight.
Among the warning signs, both experts highlight the sudden change that occurs in the life of the child with depression. Baca explains that changes in his behavior can be observed, both in school and in the family, and that result in a state of irritability and lower academic performance. And he adds that the affective disorder suffered by the child can also be reflected in a loss of appetite or weight, sleep disturbances, disinterest and depression.
In view of these symptoms, Cornella thinks that it is necessary to consult the pediatrician, who will refer him, if necessary, to a child and adolescent psychiatry service to start the treatment as soon as possible.
The combination of psychotherapy and psychopharmacology often give excellent results in the treatment of minors and, as Cornella points out, it has been proven that psychotropic drugs, which were previously associated with an increase in suicidal tendencies in young people, do not have this effect secondary, and specialists are able to recommend the most appropriate medications and the doses that should be administered in each case.
Experts have detected that in recent years there has been an increase in the incidence of mental disorders in children and adolescents, although, in the opinion of Baca, this could be due not so much to a higher prevalence, but to the fact that patients have access to it. easier to the health system because it has improved the knowledge of pediatricians, psychiatrists and other people around the child about these types of disorders, as well as to a greater awareness on the part of society about the problem of school failure, which pushes to look for its causes in order to solve it.