What can a child with depression feel? The main symptoms: loneliness, suffering, pain, longing, despondency, and alienation from the surrounding people, friends, classmates, teachers, parents.
Childhood and adolescent depression are a reality, and today it is encountered more and more often. It can be confused with a period of adulthood, the symptoms of which overlap with the symptoms of depression. In each period of the child’s development, parents and the world expect very specific behavior patterns: when he or she should start walking, talking, holding a spoon with cereal on self, sleeping without light, making friends, making decisions, and taking responsibility for actions. Parents of the teenager are ready to the fact that his or her emotions, thoughts, mood, and behavior can change rapidly. Sometimes this happens unnoticed and does not cause discomfort to others, sometimes the contrast can be quite expressive.
For a child or an adolescent, every event that happens is a little stress: the teacher’s comment, the disapproving words of the parents, a quarrel with classmates. Under the influence of such events, the transition from sadness to joy can happen many times a day. The majority copes with such mini stresses imperceptibly for themselves.
When stress becomes frequent, when a child has a predisposition to a disease or does not find support from others, depression may occur.
As well as with depression in adults, depression in children and adolescents is a mental disorder requiring the immediate participation of parents and referral to a specialist.
How often do children have depression?
In children under 12 years (or before puberty), depression is relatively rare – 1 in 50 children (i.e., 2%) have ever severe episodes of depression. However, since the puberty period, the frequency of depression increases. One in 15-20 teenagers ever experienced depression (this is already 5%-8%), and already since the age of 15, adolescents suffer from depression as often as adults do. Up to 12 years, depression is equally observed in boys and girls. After 12 years, adolescent girls suffer from depression 3 times more often than boys do.
How does depression in children differ from depression in adults?
Depression in children under 12 years is probably a heterogeneous disease. That is, it can be the started an “adult” recurrent depression caused by hereditary (biological) factors. But, more often, depression at this age is caused by the psycho-traumatic factors: the death of a loved one, problems in the family, conflicts, child neglect, divorce, as well as school failures, separation from friends, etc. Since adolescence (about 12 years), depression is increasingly becoming “adult”, that is, adults are more prone to depression. Since the age of 15, depression in adolescents is only slightly different from depression in adults.
How does depression affect children and adolescents?
Short answer: the same as in adults. Attacks last on average 7-8 months, but can be much shorter or longer, lasting for years. There are usually no violations between such attacks or they are weak. If there was only one episode, then the majority of people will have the next episode in 2-5 years (that is, within 5 years, 70% will have a new attack).
Treatment of depression
How often do children with depression get the necessary treatment? Unfortunately, not always. So, children with depression often complain of abdominal pain, malaise, so chronic cholecystitis, chronic gastritis, cystitis, tonsillitis, rheumatism, vegetative-vascular dystonia are often observed in them. The use of drugs such as Xanax, Valium and other powerful antidepressants is recommended under the strict supervision of a doctor. Do not forget that the kid’s body is much more susceptible to tablets.