While the first signs of depression in children typically emerge during adolescence, a new study shows that a kid’s genetics might serve as an early mental health indicator. Columbia University recently shared findings of a study that shows that the brains of children who are born to depressed parents are structurally different than those born to parents without depression.
Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the study found that the brain’s right putamen is smaller in the brains of kids with one or more parents who suffer from depression. According to the study, this area of the brain is linked to reward, motivation, and the experience of pleasure. It goes on to share, “smaller putamen volumes also has been linked to anhedonia — a reduced ability to experience pleasure — which is implicated in depression, substance use, psychosis, and suicidal behaviors.”
These study findings should help doctors and mental health professionals identify high risk children and develop improved treatment and action plans to lessen the impacts of depression, turning our kids into healthy adults.
Read more about the study from US News & World Report.