As a parent of a teenage boy, if you are worried whether your boy would be suffering from teen depression, but are hesitant to take him to the psychiatrist, a good new awaits you. A saliva test for adolescent boys with minimal signs of depression can be helpful in identifying whether there are chances of your child developing major depression in the future.
Stress hormone cortisol:
Researchers calculated the stress hormone called cortisol in adolescent boys and found that the boys with higher levels of this hormone combined with mild depression symptoms have the chances of suffering clinical depression in the later stage of their life as compared to children with normal or lower cortisol levels. Even though, the test was conducted both in boys and girls, it was found to be effective in boys alone.
A report shows that nearly one out of every six people suffer from clinical depression at least once in their lifetime and most of the mental illnesses start before the age of 24 years. Even though, there is presently no biological test to identify teen depression, this saliva test is pointed out as a new emergence by Joe Herbert of the University of Cambridge. Herbert and his team found that nearly 1800 teenagers in the age group of 12 and 19 years, who were tested for their higher cortisol levels with saliva experienced some mental health disorders after three years. This cortisol levels along with the own depression symptom of each and every teen was compared to find the results. The boys with mild depression and higher cortisol levels were found to be at higher risk as compared to girls with higher cortisol levels.
Why difference in boys and girls?
Experts say that Cortisol affects girls and boys differently. As per the words of Dr. Carmine Pariante, a professor of biological psychiatry, all hormones inclusive of sexual hormones, have an influence on the functioning of the brain and the behavior of teens.
Pariante has added that gender-specific hormones like estrogen and progesterone on females and androgen in males might react in different ways to cortisol. Pariante has also added that the saliva test is promising and has also added that when a higher level of cortisol is found in the early stages, simple therapies like talk therapy can help to protect boys from teen depression. But, researchers are still looking for physical symptoms in the body for mental illnesses as against relying on the things said by the patient and diagnosis.
Benefits of saliva test:
Psychiatrists have pointed out that the results of this test can be taken as a biological model for understanding underlying teen depression. Like an x-ray helping in identifying a broken bone, this test will be helpful in identifying patients at higher risk so that they can be helped to get out of their problem before it worsens.
As a mom of a teenage boy, this new introduction will surely give you a sense of relief that you can help your young boy from future illness.