Depression in children: diagnosis and treatment

Many parents are suspicious of allegations that children are depressed, just like adults. They see this as the usual children’s whims and are confident that everything will pass by itself. Such an approach is erroneous and can even lead to tragic consequences. Very often the cause of teen suicides becomes   depression, which adults did not respond in time.

In this case, the age of children is almost irrelevant. After all, depression is a disease that can manifest itself even at a younger age. It is important to catch the moment when the rate of psychological changes in the process of growing up of a child turns into a serious diagnosis. For students of lower grades, the so-called latent (that is, masked or hidden) depression is more characteristic . Their psyche has not yet been formed, and the problems manifest themselves in this way.

What children have a tendency to depression

There are certain age groups of children that require particularly close attention from adults. This applies to parents, teachers, and school psychologists. Experts in this field believe that the most dangerous period with an increase in depressive risks in boys falls on a period of about 10 years. As for girls, at an early age they are more resistant to psychological effects. The most risky age in this respect is from 16 years.

Contrary to popular belief, childhood depression is a fairly common phenomenon. Statistics show that it affects over 2.5% of the total number of children. But this is the official statistics. It does not take into account diseases that occur in a latent form.

Often parents simply do not understand the psychology of children. They are ready to explain the emerging problems only by attention deficit, behavior disorder or hyperactivity syndrome. But serious mental problems like bipolar disorder remain outside their focus. Sometimes parents simply refuse to believe that a son or daughter has a mental disorder that needs correction by a psychiatrist.

At risk, above all, children whose parents themselves are prone to depression. Symptoms of this disease appear in them much more often than those born from healthy parents. Another risk factor is parents suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction. On the whole, the unhealthy situation in a problem family contributes to the development of negative symptoms. Any of the listed factors or their combination, including some events from life, can affect the psyche of a child.

Child psychology and advice to parents in identifying problems

Loving attentive   parents   they will surely notice that something is amiss going on with their child. There is a specific set of symptoms that will indicate a problem. The task of adults is not to miss the moment of their manifestation. Among the most common:

  • Children are constantly sad, angry or annoyed.
  • Their behavior is distinguished by unreasonable aggressiveness.
  • Regardless of the age of children, they often cry, they are very sensitive.
  • Falling concentration on schoolwork.
  • The sleep pattern is changing. The child either does not sleep well, or, on the contrary, is sleepy.
  • There are sensations that the psychology of children considers them to be unusual in their usual state — feelings of guilt, their own worthlessness, social alienation, hopelessness.
  • The child refuses to eat or, on the contrary, begins to immoderately consume food.
  • Sometimes there are complaints of poor health, which have no real physiological reasons. For example, abdominal pain.

Even a small age   children   in a state of depression does not save them from constant fatigue, loss of strength. They lose interest in their favorite activities, avoid friends, refuse hobbies and entertainment. The hardest symptom is thoughts about the attractiveness of suicide.

These symptoms can be manifested in a complex or separately. They can be rare, single, or parents will notice a complete change in the behavior of their child, his constant despondency. In the absence of an understanding of what is actually happening to them, children have to independently find a way out of this situation. Often alcohol or drugs are the way out. But this is characteristic of an older age, from 12 years.

Does the age of children affect the treatment of depression

Of course, the best option is to prevent such a development of the situation. You must be attentive to your child, tracking changes in his mood. If the symptoms of depression are already evident, then one cannot do without the help of specialists. The psychology of children differs depending on their age, gender, temperament, and upbringing conditions. To understand all the nuances can only consult a child psychiatrist.

Watching a child needs at least two weeks. If the disturbing symptoms do not disappear during this period, then the help of a doctor is already required. Diagnosis is performed according to the general rules specific to the disease. Examination can also reveal associated diagnoses that aggravate the course of depression.

The method of treatment of this disease is applied taking into account the age of children. Thus, bipolar disorder associated with depression, more often detected in adolescents. But such mental problems have recently become younger.

Experts note that children under the age of 12 began to show a tendency to suicides due to depression. If girls often only imitate a suicide attempt, boys of the same age are ready to go all the way. These are the features of the psychology of children who are faced with certain problems. They need to be considered both parents and teachers in school.

The initial method of exposure is, as a rule, psychotherapy. Only if the sessions of interaction with the psychotherapist do not give the expected effect, you can resort to medication. For adults, the combination of psychotherapy with antidepressants is the best option. Children prescribing such drugs recommended with caution.

The reaction of the child’s psyche can be unpredictable. Teenagers and young children, antidepressants may, on the contrary, push to thoughts of suicide. If a small patient is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the drugs can provoke various mania or hyperactivity in behavior. For this reason, parents are advised to carefully monitor the medication and track the slightest change in the child’s behavior.

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