Liver problems in young adults can cause depression

Liver problems in young adults can cause depression

Depression is a major mental disorder among teens and young adults in the United States. According to a 2015 survey by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), roughly 3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the U.S. (12.5 percent) had at least one major depressive episode in 2014. Various factors, including biological and genetic, can be responsible for depression.

According to a recent study, chronic liver conditions in young adults can increase their probability of suffering from anxiety and depression. The study, titled “Liver transplantation and adolescence: The role of mental health,” is based on the premise that the teenage phase proves to be difficult for those suffering from acute medical conditions. The study, published online in the journal Liver Transplantation in October 2016, suggested that critically ill teenagers tend to suffer more from various kinds of mental disorders compared to the general population.

Prolonged illness makes patients with depression or anxiety emotionally vulnerable

For the study, the researchers analyzed 187 patients from London, aged between 16 and 25 years.  The participants had attended an outpatient liver transition clinic and responded to queries provided in the electronically administered questionnaire. Based on their responses, the scientists calculated that nearly 17.7 percent of them were afflicted with anxiousness and bouts of depression compared to an estimated 4 to 6 percent of the general adolescent population.

The findings indicated that the patients with depression or anxiety were emotionally vulnerable to their prolonged illness. Their state of mental health, in turn, affected their thoughts about the illness they had been suffering from and the nature and acuteness of signs they experienced.

Stressing on the observations, lead author of the study Dr. Marianne Samyn from King’s College Hospital said, “Health care professionals should be aware of the high prevalence of mental health problems in young people with liver conditions and routinely inquire about young people’s psychosocial circumstances as both can impact on their illness and outcome.”

She said that the most common symptoms among young people with liver disorders were lethargic feelings, difficulty sleeping and problem handling monetary transactions or school-related issues. These concerns are not very much different from what their peers faced and could be managed by a multidisciplinary team looking after them.

Handling depression in young people

Depression among young people due to physical, emotional, psychological and social problems can lead to anxiety which can linger for prolonged periods. Most teenagers avoid sharing their problems by staying aloof which can further aggravate their problems. Communicating with family and friends can help devise ways to cope with their feelings that can help keep depression at bay.

Depressed adolescents can follow these tips given by physicians or health care practitioners:

  • going out and making new friends
  • participating in sports, jobs, school activities or hobbies
  • joining relevant organizations that prepare and develop special programs focusing on the needs and special interests of adolescents
  • requesting a trusted adult for the much-needed help

The misconception that mood swings are a part of adolescence makes it arduous for elders to diagnose depression in their teenagers. Being vigilant and alert about varied symptoms that manifest, coupled with increased understanding, can help pull out teenagers from their personal well of depression.

Timely treatment is key to recovery

If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression and is looking for depression help centers, the Depression Treatment Helpline can assist in getting the best treatment. One should not delay in seeking intervention as timely treatment is key to faster recovery. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number at 866-619-7729 or chat online with one of our representatives to learn about the best treatment centers for depression.