Depressive Disorders in Children with Neurological Diseases

In most cases, children with diseases of the central nervous system also have mental disorders. With epilepsy and other chronic conditions, they develop depression, mood swings, and other emotional problems.

Depression is also common among parents of children with chronic neurological conditions such as epilepsy and neurofibromatosis .

The situation is aggravated by the violation of the behavior of children, as well as the limited financial resources of the parents. And these factors also increase depression in children. Depression makes children susceptible to behavioral and emotional disturbances caused by the side effect of medications they take to treat an underlying neurological disorder.

Many antiepileptic drugs themselves can cause depression. These are phenobarbital baclofen topiramate benzidiazepines , interferon, mizoline , steroids, leviteracitam . Therefore, against the background of depression from the underlying neurological disease, as well as treatment with drugs, suicidal thoughts may arise in children. Children with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and brain tumors, as a rule, have poor education, as there are difficulties in learning, a low level of social and work adaptation, emotional and behavioral problems.

Children with epilepsy are often depressed . Patients with multiple sclerosis experience weakness if they have a history of traumatic brain injury – they study poorly; with neurofibromatosis – do not have sufficient social connections.

Scientific studies have shown that adolescents 13-16 years old with chronic neurological diseases are prone to latent depression in 75% of cases, 2.5% have suicidal thoughts and in 45% of cases – suicidal attempts ( Fombonne E. et al ., 2001 .).

Chronic stress due to insufficient social adaptation, depression lead to a worsening of the course of the underlying neurological disease.

Anxiety and depression can be considered concomitant conditions in chronic neurological diseases (epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, consequences of traumatic brain injury).

With newly diagnosed epilepsy, depression and anxiety occur in 23 and 36% of cases, respectively, and in chronic epilepsy – in 16 and 33% ( Caplan R., et al, 2005). Moreover, depression in epilepsy is not directly proportional to convulsive conditions.

In children with chronic diseases of the central nervous system, volumetric changes in the size of the limbic system and impaired frontal connections are often found . In children with convulsions, anxiety, depression, there is an increase in the volume of the left amygdala, and its role is great in the regulation of emotions. With partial seizures combined with anxiety and depression , the hippocampus is reduced . Smaller hippocampus is found in children who do not have epilepsy but have a genetic risk for mood disorders.

In the clinic of Professor V.L. For a moment, you can treat children suffering from depression on the background of neurological diseases.

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