How Do We Talk to Our Kids About Violence?

It is important to talk to kids about violence to help them understand what happened and how to cope  with the emotions that this brings up. Here is some information on how to talk to kids about violence.



This can be quite a challenge for the treating psychiatrist and we’ll see why this is a more difficult task then in addressing the same psychiatric problems in adults.

When do we suspect depression in children and adolescents?

Depressed adolescents and children may show some of the several symptoms: frequent crying, feelings of hopelessness, low energy, persistent boredom, social withdrawal, increased irritability and anger, poor performance in school major changes in sleeping, extreme sensitivity to rejection and failure, loss of appetite or overeating, suicidal thoughts, self-harming behavior, difficulties concentrating.

A study done by a group of researchers at the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine, suggested that having a depressed mood at baseline would predict obesity at a follow ups. Depressed adolescents have an increased risk in developing and maintaining obesity during adolescence.

The most important factor that seem to contribute to that is overeating as a result of the negative emotions. Inactivity, psychomotor retardation, also could contribute to excessive accumulation of fat. Disrupted sleep also appears to be a risk for weight gain. Poor self-image and low self-esteem, the hallmarks of depression seem to contribute to the choice of peers. Studies show that overweight teens were twice as likely to have overweight friends, as non-overweight peers.

Treatment of depression seems to be the preventive way to stop the development of obesity, by recognizing the symptoms of depression early. Once the obesity is developed, the treatment encounters the difficulty of finding an antidepressant that would not cause weight gain.

The issue of noncompliance is very high in children and adolescents, strongly related to their cognitive and psychological development. The sense of invulnerability to sickness or death, and also, sometimes, the delay in the development of the abstract thinking, hinder the acquiring of proper understanding of the process of depression as an illness.

In addition to that, most antidepressants share the side effect of possible weight gain, except Bupropion, that has a weight –loss side effect. It would seem the antidepressant of choice for this group of population, if the depression is not associated with severe anxiety and the patient and their family is made aware of the non FDA use of it in this age group. The other two antidepressants approved for the young ages are Fluoxetine and Escitalopram, both of them having the potential weight gain.

The strategies to offset the risk of weight gain with antidepressant have to focus on the patient education as well as nutrition counseling and the introduction of an early exercise program. The patient and their family have to be encouraged to ask questions about the treatment and the risk involved.

If you like this article on depression in overweight and obese teenagers, or have questions, schedule your first session by calling us at 713.426.3100.