Interest in children’s and adolescents’ depression has arisen relatively recently, which is explained by the idea of children as kids from the very beginning, by nature, happy, cheerful, unable to deeply and lastingly experience their difficulties.
In addition, children’s unsociability is often perceived as depression and vice versa: childhood depression is mistakenly perceived as unsociability. At the same time, the clinical picture of depression is obscured by the characteristics of the child’s personality associated with his/her intellectual development, family influence, culture, and development in general. The difficulty also lies in the fact that depression can be one of the symptoms of many diseases, a syndrome, or an independent disease. Often, the diagnosis of depression in children is hampered by the unconscious desire of parents not to notice it in order to avoid grief, aggravating the guilt they feel because of the inattention to their children. There are many counseling centers for children and adolescents suffering from any kind of depression and sadness.
There are three subtypes of depression:
Not only does the subtype change with age, but the number of symptoms also increases. In children, depression often manifests itself in fantasies (in dreams, drawings, spontaneous games), less often in verbal expression, and even less often in mood and behavior disorders.
Psychosomatic symptoms: enuresis, sleep disturbances, mutism (refusal of speech communication), gastrointestinal disorders, “school headache”. More frequent are mental symptoms: anxiety, lethargy, self-isolation, irritability, insecurity, unwillingness to participate in the game, excessive feeling of responsibility, hypochondria, emotional instability, aggressiveness, fears, depression, suicidal thoughts and, less often, actions, thoughts of inferiority.
According to the frequency of occurrence of manifestations of depression in children, they are arranged in the following order:
Depression in older adolescents is more similar to depression in adults: headache, depression, inability to experience positive emotions, melancholy, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disorders, bronchial asthma, neurodermatitis, loss of appetite or overeating, suicidal thoughts or intentions, insensibility, hypochondria.
There are various treatments for depression, including medication and psychotherapy. Family therapy can be helpful if family conflicts are the cause of depression in the adolescent. The teenager also needs to feel supported by family or teachers to solve problems at school or with peers. Severe depression sometimes requires psychiatric hospitalization.
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