Understanding Depression In Children
Created by Bhavna Updated on Apr 18, 2018
According to the recent studies, Indians are the most depressed people in the world *.
The existence of a Depressive Disorder was controversial till late 1970’s; it was believed that preadolescent children were not capable of experiencing depression due to immature personality structure.
Research over the past 30 years has established clearly that children are capable of experiencing depressive states that the manifestation might not be the same as adults. Another important fact that came out from all the research was that Adult depression has a basis in experiences from the childhood. This would mean that if we understood and addressed depression in children then we could also be treating depression of tomorrow’s adults.
What are the types of depression in children?
Depression does occur in children but assumes different clinical forms namely:
Anaclitic Depression: It is explained as a severe and progressive depression in infants who lose their mother and do not get a suitable substitute)
Masked Depression or Depressive equivalents: Depression is present but masked by other behaviours called ‘depressive equivalents’ which included conduct problems (hyperactivity, delinquency, aggressiveness, irritability), somatic complaints (headache, stomach ache, and enuresis), school problems (school phobia, poor school performance)
Typical Depression: The presence of typical depressive syndrome can be classified as as (i) acute depression without and a tendency to develop from a maladjusted characteristics of adult depression. This was further classified as consisting of dysphoria, hopelessness, social eating disturbances, and other depressive symptoms environment (ii) chronic depression, previous psychiatric disorders and significant with poor adjustment before the onset of the disorder withdrawal, psychomotor retardation.
Reasons behind the Depression
Family environment: Studies on depressed adults, off springs of depressed parents, and depressed youths have shown that their family interactions were characterized by more conflict, rejection and virtually no expression of appreciation and love. Studies of both clinical and Community samples of depressed children and adolescents have shown a modest but significant relationship between stressful life events (bereavement, family disruption) and depression Maltreated children (includes physical and sexual abuse) are at a significant risk for the development of a number of problems, including insecure attachment, poor emotional and behavioral self regulatory skills and lowered cognitive functioning
Prospective investigations have concluded that dimensions of temperament may have a predictive specificity for later psychopathology It has been observed that infants who demonstrate a low threshold to become distressed and aroused when confronted with unfamiliar stimuli (i.e., those with behavioural inhibition) are more likely than others to become fearful and subdued during early childhood
A multimodal treatment approach is considered appropriate and the factors that are taken into consideration can be; the age of the patient, developmental stage. Certain factors need to be considered in deciding the path of the treatment that can be psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy Psychotherapies. Other related therapies that can be used to treat depression in different cases and age groups are as follows:
- Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) (in older children) are issues (family Conflict, academic problems), Number of play therapy
- Behavioural therapy- supportive of prior episodes, chronicity, subtype of depression the management of childhood depression
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Social skills training
- Group therapy
Child’s cognitive and emotional development guides the decision regarding the choice of intervention e.g., play therapy and parental training would likely be the most appropriate for use in depressed preschool-aged children, while cognitive behavior therapy would be more appropriate in older children and adolescents.
Childhood depression is a recurrent, familial, disabling, disorder with significant relation with anxiety and disruptive disorder. Pharmacological treatments are indicated in both Phenomenology of childhood depression needs to be psychosocial management, informed decision regarding drug therapy in selected cases would be the best possible way of treating childhood depression.
Parentune.com: Also read 1. http://parentune.com/http://www.parentune.com/parent-blog/suicide-prevention-in-children/173 2. http://parentune.com/http://www.parentune.com/parent-blog/top-watchouts-to-prevent-child-abuse/174
*World Health Organisation
| May 17, 2018
it would have been better if explained in detailed
| Jul 11, 2017
it's a very useful article. it was even better if explained in detail abt how to deal with such kind of depression at home by parents.
| Jun 02, 2015
Well written! It would be nice if a few signs of depression amonv children of various age groups and methods to handle it, at parent level be highlighted.
| Jun 02, 2015
A must read for every parent.
| Jun 02, 2015
The approach mentioned in this blog to handle depression in kids is excellent. very well-written @Bhavna Awasthy.
| Nov 25, 2012
Depression is much a taboo subject.. like a ghost we don't want to see. There can never be enough information sharing on this subject. great post!