The diagnosis of depression is not as clear as other psychological disorders. Medical science still does not know much about the brain, its functioning, and the reasons behind why it suddenly starts malfunctioning. It was only in the 1950’s that research stumbled across the antidepressant properties of certain drugs.
There is not too much difference between the difficulties faced while diagnosing adult and child depression, as both are equally problematic. All that science knows is that there is some element of predisposition to depression in some children due to factors like hereditary mental illnesses, and emotional, physical or sexual abuse. There are also indications that child depression may result from chemical imbalances, as some infants show depressive symptoms well before these factors can come into play. As such, it is much more important to be able to identify the illness rather than discuss the causes behind it.
Knowing the symptoms of child or teen depression is pertinent because certain disruptive behaviors and mood swings can be easily confused as symptoms of the adolescent process.
Some of the conspicuous symptoms of child depression that parents or guardians should be on the look out include:
- Incessant feeling of sadness, irritability, despair or worthlessness.
- Inability to take pleasure in previously enjoyed activities
- Avoiding company of friends and others.
- Crying spells.
- Sleeping disorders - either oversleeping or lack of sleep.
- Lethargy, fatigue or change in activity level: either too lazy or hyperactive.
- Feeling tired all the time.
- Functional physical problems that are difficult to diagnose, like headaches or stomach aches.
- Frequent thoughts or mention of death or suicide.
- Difficulty in concentrating on the job at hand, procrastination, or avoiding responsibilities.
- Anger, rage, or disruptive behavior at school or outside.
- Sudden drop in school grades.
Bipolar disorder (BPD) is a mental disorder characterized by episodes of mania and depression. A child suffering from BPD is likely to show abrupt mood swings, prolonged periods of hyperactivity, erratic temper tantrums, or boastful talks about self or abilities.
There is a strong possibility of such depressive symptoms with certain related disorders like ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). Teenage girls, on the other hand, are more prone to exhibit eating disorders. Any teen depression help must ensure that a holistic diagnosis is made so that the treatment can be customized.
In the modern society, teen depression has become a reality and cannot be shrugged off easily. The problem exists and should be tackled with a bold face rather than turning the proverbial blind eye. Competition today is felt by children and adults alike. While an adult may worry about performance, pay, and appraisals, children face the pressure of parental expectations in terms of good grades and performance in sports.