There appears to be a vicious cycle appearing in regards to stress levels and mood disorders. It is already known that high levels of stress can lead to mood disorders and that the disorders or parents greatly affect their children. What has recently been found from research done at Concordia University is that daily stress is on the rise and directly associated in the rate of depression in both adults and children.
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A degree of depression referred to as ‘major depression’ is becoming an increasingly common health complication. It seems to be more noticeable in developed countries and developing countries. The citizens of these areas seem to be increasingly their stress levels as industrialization and technological innovation take over. As developing countries take on more responsibility in their daily activities so do the children of the already developed countries.
At Concordia University there was a study conducted to test the cortisol levels in children. Cortisol is the hormone that increases and decreases based on the general level of stress an individual is under. Children who come from families where at least one parents suffers from a mood disorder had higher levels of cortisol than children that come from families without. Initially it was suggested that the passing of stress and mood disorders may be genetic but now there is another theory being batted around researchers in the medical community.
Perhaps these families in which the parent is suffering from a mood disorder lead more chaotic and stressful lives. The cause of this increase stress has not been quantified but it is apparent in the results of the study. Stressful parents yield stressful children. This increase in the stress level of their children puts them at a much higher risk for mood disorders in the future.
How to tell if your young child is stressed
Stress may begin in a child’s life before they can even speak. Parenting and the atmosphere of the family can be noticed by children of all ages. Often a child under abnormal levels of stress will:
*Cry for no fixable reason
*Have clammy palms
*Become aggressive when stress levels rise between other family members
*Rock back and forth and remain unresponsive
*Have chronic headaches or stomachaches
*Have difficulty sleeping
All of these symptoms unfortunately correspond with the common effects of simply being a young child. The term excessive is relative and would be different for each child. If you’re at all concerned about the stress level of your child it is possible to get their cortisol level checked. The test to get it checked is very simple and involves taking a small sample of their saliva. The procedure is non-invasive and results can usually be returned the same day.
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