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Brain scans of newborns can reveal early signs of anxiety and depression, finds study

Brain scans of newborns can reveal early signs of anxiety and depression, finds study

17 April | 0 Comments | By Rachael

Childhood is a stage when a child is experiencing multiple things for the first time; some of these can have a long-lasting impact on his/her behavior and continue into adulthood. Any difference in behavioral pattern at a young age should not be shrugged off as traits of indiscipline as they might be signs of a mental illness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlighted that children between the age of 3 to 17 years had mental disorders like anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States. A recent study involving full-term and premature babies (at least 10 weeks old), have linked mental disorders like depression and anxiety to connections between those regions in the brain that regulate emotions and thoughts, and influence decision-making. Subsequent follow-up study conducted after the infants turned two suggested that there was no disparity between the two groups of infants, and that the connectivity patterns linked with mental disorders apply to both the groups.

The researchers of the study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) in February 2017 did not rule out the possibility of other factors such as mothers already suffering with clinical depression or anxiety, or whether these babies belonged to low-income families. Nonetheless, such findings may be able to contribute towards early identification of such disorders for timely treatment in the future. The authors wish to continue the study with the same participants when they turn nine to assess if the brain connections established during birth continue to influence psychiatric disorders.

Signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety in children

The symptoms of depression and anxiety are hard to identify as the onlookers may pass it off as a mood fluctuation or a ‘bad day’ syndrome. Some amount of panic or stress in daily life is normal, however, continuous mood swings and loss of interest in hobbies, disturbances in sleep patterns, loneliness, and unnecessary and excessive fear may indicate signs of depression or anxiety.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety in children that parents, teachers and friends should look out for.

  • Mood swings that last for longer period of time, usually over two weeks.
  • Excessive fear or being constantly worried about things that do not require much attention.
  • Lack of concentration not only while doing schoolwork, but also while playing or watching TV.
  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
  • Physical changes like sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Withdrawal from friends and family

Time to seek treatment for mental health disorders

If your child or someone you know is showing signs of depression or anxiety, then seeking professional help is the best way to deal with it. If mental illnesses are neglected, they can hinder the growth of the child and can adversely affect his/her adulthood. An integrated program based on diagnostic assessment by certified professionals can treat mental disorders effectively.

The Arizona Mental Health Helpline experts can suggest the best treatment programs based on individual’s needs and condition. Mental health treatment centers in Arizona are state-of-the-art treatment centers that are operated by qualified service representatives and professionals. You can call our 24/7 helpline number (866) 606-7791 or chat with our medical representatives to know more about mental health disorder treatment centers in Arizona.