Depression is a common mental health condition, but subthreshold depression is a more severe form of it that not only has sadness as a symptom but some additional ones as well.
This condition, if goes untreated can lead to social morbidity, and higher risk of developing major depressive disorder (MDD). Subthreshold depression is considered a more acute form of depression. Subthreshold depression can trigger impairing effects, leading to an exacerbated risk of experiencing a major depressive episode and emotional suffering.
Subthreshold depression is not well defined in DSM-5 due to which there is very less research available on the disorder. Yet, identifying the underlying condition for subthreshold depression has the potential to shed light on prognostic markers and risk factors that can develop into major depression. This approach is very crucial to develop treatment aids for people enduring mild depression.
According to a data published by the National Institute of Health (NIH), approximately 3.2 million adolescents, estimating around 13.3% of the population aged 12 to 17 in the United States, had at least one major depressive episode. The prevalence of major depressive episode was lower among males (6.8%) compared to adolescent females (20.0%). Depression in adolescent and children has become a crucial public health and global challenge, with adding severity to the negative outcomes of the disorder.
A new study published in Elsevier and conducted by the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), suggests that psychological intervention can have humble yet noteworthy effect on the treatment of subthreshold depression.
According to professor PimCuijpers (of VrijeUniversiteit), Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, “depression is often recognized from no form of depression to major form of depression, but often symptoms of subthreshold depression symptoms are missed out as they are considered mild form of depression, which can later develop into major depression and other mental health disorders.”
In recent years, several trials have been performed examining the effect of psychological intervention on subthreshold depression prevailing in adolescent population and children. But each trial generated different results.
To connect the missing link in the current studies, researchers went on an exclusive quest for bibliographic databases, and identified 12 studies examining psychological interventions for subthreshold depression in adolescent children.
The study looked at 1,576 participants where their past history of depression was compared with present clinical trials. The study also involved findings that evinced the details about how many of the participants developed major depression from subthreshold depression.
Researchers also found that majority of the studies contained results of adolescent population developing major depression from subthreshold depression, while only two studies included data of children below 12 years of age, which means there was not sufficient data to provide evidence for subthreshold depression in children.
The study showed that adolescent population responded well to psychological intervention. Nearly one in eight of the participants were able to combat subthreshold depression compared to no treatment at all.
The results also showed that some of the negative effects were overlooked or were not published at all as they did not serve the purpose of more findings. After statistical adjustment of the negative results, the effects were considerably low.
The results showed that people who received treatment had 50% reduction in the symptoms of major depression. The overall study gave sufficient proof that psychological interventions can thwart subthreshold depression from developing to major depression, while very less data was available to give any substantial proof for childhood depression.
Seeking help for mental health
Depression is a condition that can leave anyone devastated irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity or religion. Seeking treatment at the earliest prevents it from worsening. It is crucial to look out for the early signs of depression and prevent it from exacerbating.
If you or a loved one is grappling with any mental health issue or any co-occurring disorder, seek immediate treatment. Early intervention helps in an easy rehabilitation process along with long-term recovery of patients.
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