Trending: Hope on the Horizon Through a Clinical Trial
Children and adolescents who suffer from Depression often withdraw from social interactions
Happy-go-lucky in grade school, Aimee now cries non-stop for days. At fifteen and in high school, she has entered the ranks of the responsible. “I feel so pressured, I just can’t be myself!” So Aimee withdraws.
Her mom Sarah, explains, “Kids these days really don’t have much time to be kids. We don’t expect Aimee to compete in athletics and win trophies, but the peer pressure is fierce. So many kids have private coaches and actually started lessons before they even started school.”
Sarah counts at least five of Aimee’s friends who go all out to win, and flaunt the recognition. “With social media announcing every kid’s last move, they feel like they have to be newsworthy or they don’t measure up.” She goes on to say, “Not only that, but with phones snapping pictures every second for Snapchat and texts, Aimee feels pressure to look cool all the time. They all do. It’s crazy.”
Depression Runs Rampant
Social media has changed more than the way we communicate. It has added another layer of social interaction through which our adolescents manage their lives. And each other. For many, it’s not a day at the beach, so to speak. The stress of functioning on the virtual stage has them tied in knots, with no relief in sight. Such chronic stress is just as hard for teens, if not harder, than their parents’ workaday treadmills are for them.
In fact, anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. That’s 12.5% of our youth, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. In 2014, an estimated 2.8 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
How Depression Affects our Youth
Depression in childhood and adolescence is similar to adult major depressive disorder, although young sufferers may exhibit increased withdrawal, or irritability or aggressive and self-destructive behavior, rather than the all-encompassing sadness associated with adult forms of depression. Children who are under stress, experience loss, or have attention, learning, behavioral, or anxiety disorders are at a higher risk for depression.
Childhood depression is often co-morbid with mental disorders outside of other mood disorders; most commonly anxiety disorder and conduct disorder. Depression also tends to run in families.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is making new inroads with adolescents. Originally cleared by the FDA in 2008 for treatment of adults with treatment-resistant depression, TMS is now helping many teenagers overcome their depression, too.
TMS is so promising for adolescents that Neuronetics, a leader in TMS technology, recently launched a clinical trial to prove its safety and effectiveness with the population with Major Depressive Disorder between the ages of 12 and 21.
The official title of the study is; A Randomized, Sham-Controlled Trial Evaluating the Safety and Effectiveness of NeuroStar® Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy in Depressed Adolescents and details are available online at clinicaltrials.gov.
Recruiting for the Adolescent Clinical Trial
Launched in October 2015, the study is currently recruiting 100 qualified participants among all locations, which include:
- Gainesville, Florida
- Pensacola, Florida
- Louisville, Kentucky
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Rochester, Minnesota
- Lebanon, New Hampshire
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Columbus, Ohio
- East Providence, Rhode Island
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Calgary, Alberta, Canada
To qualify for a spot in the trial, individuals must be in the age range and meet these Inclusion Criteria:
- Primary diagnosis of unipolar major depressive disorder, in a current major depressive episode, without psychotic features
- Duration of current episode of depression ≥4 weeks and ≤3 years
- Clinical Global Impression – Severity of Illness ≥ 4
- Resistance to antidepressant treatment in a discrete illness episode
- HAMD24 Item 1 ≥ 2 and total score ≥ 20
- Subjects able to commit to protocol visit schedule
- At the end of the baseline visit, subject must have a HAMD24 score of ≥ 18 and change in score may not be ≥ 25% decrease from that seen at the screening visit
To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below.
Refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02586688
Melissa Reitenbaugh email: [email protected]
Denene Finnerty email: [email protected]
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study.
Image credit: Baker131313 Public Domain