Almost everyone had experienced depression at some point. The degree of depression varies from person to person with some suffering from a major depression and the other from clinical depression. It is said that 75 percent of the mental disorders starts before the person attains the age of 24. And it is always better if the disorder gets identified at an early stage. Recently, researchers have found a way of evaluating depression at an early stage just as heart ailments.
Researchers at University of Cambridge claims that a saliva test will help them to screen teenage boys showing minor depression symptoms and identify those with the chance of suffering from major clinical depression in the future. Although the test conducted on both boys and girls, was found to be more valid with boys.
Total 1,800 teenage boys were examined for the level of cortisol, the stress hormone and it was found that the boys with increased levels of cortisol and suffering from symptoms of minor depression were 14 times more at risk of developing clinical depression at some stage in the later life, than with the boys with normal or reduced levels of stress hormone and rare symptoms.
Surprisingly the results revealed that one in every six teenage boy was at a risk of depression and in the course of three years, half of boys were identified with symptoms of clinical depression.
As per researchers, Prof Ian Goodyer, the test will help to identify boys who are at risk of suffering clinical depression and therefore timely prevention will reduce the increased risk of depression in later life. Major clinical depression is distinguishable from regular depressive symptoms as feeling low and is considered as a genuine disorder.
The test could not identify the risk in women, although the chances for them to develop the depressive symptoms in some part of their lifetime, is twice as men. Researchers believe the reason that affects the probability is that cortisol levels in women are naturally high.
Researchers are now hopeful that the biomarker for depression will give on time support and medication to those at risk, but it is advisable to remember that other elements as genetic factors, life events, diet and side effect of medicine, also play a key role in developing depression. And therefore, screening at early stage gives more opportunity for quicker recovery. And apart from consultation, such test will also help psychiatrist to better understand the condition of their patients.