Clinical Trials Can Help Children and Teens With Depression
Five to ten percent of all children and teenagers will suffer from clinical depression, and the sooner the diagnosis is made the better.
Registered Psychiatric Nurse, Angela White, who works for Sarkis Family Psychiatry, here in Gainesville was worried when her son was having trouble adjusting to middle school. She soon realized that he had a problem.
"He was having a difficult time turning in homework it was a struggle every night," says White.
She turned to the doctors in her clinic, who also run clinical trials that help children and teens deal with stress and depression.
Dr. Michael Johnson, of Sarkis Family Psychiatry, says "The first thingÂ a parent has to do is ask the right questions, it this a possibility?"
Johnson is one of several doctors in the practice who helps design the evaluations that determine what treatment --if any-- a child needs. But how do you know if your child is just experiencing normal stress -- the usual ups & downs, and moodiness of childhood-- or if they are a candidate for depression?
Johnson says that parents should "look at their school performance for example if they are able to keep up with the work or if they're falling behind... and if there is a change in their behavior then certainly that's an important sign to pay attention to."
Four weeks into the clinical trial white has learned that her son is not depressed --but experiencing attention deficit disorder. from the first evaluation, to the introduction of the right prescription drug, she saw changes in her son.
She says of her son's current behavior "wasn't talking as much in class and he was getting his homework done without as much struggle."
But medication isn't always the answer. Johnson says that the practice is more careful in their treatment because it's a research program that isn't otherwise available to many people. The evaluations are extensive, they include blood tests and EKG's -- and here they are free.
While many parents fear the possibility of mental illness and over-prescribing of drugs, White says it is better to find out for certain.
"The sooner that you can address it medically the better off the child is the better off the family is because it does affect the whole family," adds White.
Sarkis Family Psychiatry is able to provide all of their medical services and treatment for free because they are partly funded by pharmaceutical companies. If entered into a trial your child can be given as much as $25 per visit for participating.
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