VIDEO INTERVIEW | Kostadinovska: Depression is a condition that requires early recognition and treatment

Marija Kostadinovska - psychiatrist / Photo: "Sloboden Pechat" / Dragan Mitreski

Over 1 billion people worldwide experience mental health problems, while UNICEF estimates that 1 in 7 children and young people worldwide have some form of mental health problem. Every third adolescent has symptoms of depression after the pandemic, and 42 percent have complained of anxiety, according to official data. Psychiatrist Dr. Marija Kostadinovska from the "Zhan Mitrev" Clinic from Skopje in the morning show Free Press on Slobodna TV says that the pandemic left serious consequences for the health of young people.

- Anxiety is a normal process in growth and development in childhood and adolescence and is considered an adaptation phase. Children are in a stressful state, especially in the transition from kindergarten, to primary school, then to high school. There are also stressful situations, especially in families with lower economic stability or facing illness in the family. There is also anxiety in highly developed countries, the pandemic has further contributed to the acceptance of the new today. Seven percent of children feel anxiety and depression, which is not a small number - says Kostadinovska.

According to her, the long social isolation and interruption in daily routines had a very negative impact on the mental health of adolescents. The number of young people who complain of depression and anxiety is increasing. Girls are six times more likely to report symptoms of depression compared to boys.

- It is important to know that depression is treatable. It is always desirable that if children have problems with their feelings and mental state, they should first contact a school psychologist, then the family doctor, who then refers them to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Must always be accompanied by a parent. Antidepressants must be taken for at least one year, but regular control by a psychotherapist is necessary to adapt the therapy. Many of the young people end up on anti-depressants. There is a large consumption of these drugs as well as anxiolytics. The stigma is very big, the pandemic was also the reason for them to start talking about the fear, about the situation they are in. And ask for help - says Kostadinovska.

According to her, for a long time patients have been trying to solve their depression within the family or use more primitive ways to deal with it, like quack doctors, but after the pandemic they are approaching psychologists, who then send them to psychiatrists.

-Depression cannot be treated as a family, it must be treated professionally. It is a serious mental disorder and must be treated. Parents are not experts. It doesn't go away in a month or two. It takes longer, at least a year - says the psychiatrist.

A changeable mood for two weeks, behavior that is not appropriate for the child, spontaneous crying, speaking in a monotonous voice, constant complaints of body pain are the first symptoms of depression in children.

– Usually they don't play, they stand on the sidelines. They say they are sad. Young people, on the other hand, are more rebellious, more irritable, their interest in school decreases, they do nothing, nothing gives them pleasure. Suicidal thoughts also appear among young people, they mention whether it is worth living. They are furious and angry - says Kostadinovska.

Watch the entire interview with psychiatrist Dr. Maria Kostadinovska below:

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