Free Research Paper On Childhood Depression
Who would have thought that a couple of decades ago, even the concepts such as a childhood depression did not exist. Not only parents, but also plenty of doctors sincerely believe that childhood is the time of carefree fun and happiness. And suddenly it turned out that on the white sheet of children's fate may appear harsh black band, whose name is depression.
As in adults and in children, depression is caused by certain lifestyle factors, such as illness, unpleasant situations in life, family problems, the environment, genetic predisposition to mental illness or disorder of the biochemical balance. Depression is not just a transient bad mood, it does not pass by itself, without proper treatment it is very hard to escape all the possible consequences of depression.
The biochemical mechanism of real depression is a violation of production of happiness hormones in the brain. Lack of serotonin and noradrenaline happens due to lack of physical activity, inflammation, hormonal surges, chronic diseases and leads to a constant sadness, irritability, wasting.(Trad 15)
Inverse relationship is also possible: depression arising due to objective reasons (problems at school, psychological trauma, etc.) becomes habitual for the brain. Lack of external stimulation causes inhibition of serotonin, a constant lack of hormones causes the disease. Most often, the disease occurs in the period from 10 to 16 years.(Trad 15)
Childhood depression is a real depression, but it often happens so that adults can not simply believe that a child can fall into depression, and confuse the manifestations of child depression with manifestations of children's whims, their naughtiness, and familiar diseases like common cold or flue. It may seem that it is only those children who are undergoing the complex stage of adolescence are exposed to suffer from depression, but childhood depression is not yet fully understood. By now there are plenty of good evidences that it occurs in children of all ages, starting with infancy. Each stage of the child's age occurs in a psychological world, with its events, problems and possible causes for the emergence of depressive state.(Trad 46)
It is very important to know that childhood depression is sharply different from just a bad mood and daily emotional outbursts that are often observed in the child's life. If a child is sad, it does not necessarily mean that this child is sick. But if this bad mood becomes a permanent sadness then the explanation of this state can lay in the illness that is called childhood depression. Another symptoms of depression is when a child is behaving provocatively, which adversely affects his daily social activities, his interests, homework or family life, perhaps this is the first sign that a child is sick.
Signs and symptoms of childhood depression usually include:
• Irritability or anger.
• Prolonged feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
• Social withdrawal.
• Increased sensitivity and feeling of rejection.
• Change in appetite (both an increase in appetite, and its loss)
Sleep disorder - insomnia or hypersomnia.
Verbal outbreaks or crying.
It is hard for child to concentrate.
Increased fatigue and decreased vitality.
Physical ailments (headaches, stomach pain) that do not respond to treatment.
It becomes difficult to take an active part in family entertainment, games with friends, it is difficult to study, attend extracurricular activities and to do other favorite pastime.
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
There are difficulties with thinking and difficulties with concentrating.
Thoughts about death or about committing suicide.
But it is not necessary that all of these symptoms manifest themselves simultaneously. In fact, most of them will be marked in different age categories and under different conditions. Despite the relatively normal behavior of some children, depression, in most cases, will prove significant changes in social behavior, loss of interest in school and low achievers, perhaps even change the appearance of the child. Sick children are at risk of becoming drug addicts or alcoholics, especially if the child is 12 years old.(Stark 31)
But it is not necessary that all of these symptoms manifest themselves simultaneously. In fact, most of them will be marked in different age categories and under different conditions. Despite the relatively normal behavior of some children, depression, in most cases, will prove significant changes in social behavior, loss of interest in school and poor performance in school, perhaps even change the appearance of the child. According to the researches, children who fall in depression are at risk of becoming drug addicts or alcoholics, especially the most crucial age for childhood depression the children of 12 years old.(Stark 32)
Even though this situation is very rare, but young children can also make an attempt to commit suicide, and do it impulsively, in a fit of anger or nervous shock. As the statistics show, girls are more likely to attempt suicide, but in most cases boy bring his attempt to death. However, children who have experienced drunkenness of their parents, physical or sexual abuse, are more likely to commit suicide than children who just simply suffer from depression.
More than 2.5% of the children of the United States of America suffer from depression. Depression is the most common among boys up to 10 years, but after 16, girls are more prone to this disease.(Trowell, Miles and Rustin 14)
With regard to bipolar disorder, it is more common in adolescents than in young children. But if a young child was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, that occurred at an early age, the disease will develop into more severe than that of a teenager. Very often, the disease becomes invisible, hiding under the symptoms of attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder syndrome, and aggressive or antisocial behavior.(Trowell, Miles and Rustin 23)
Children, whose relatives suffered from depression, are much more likely to fall into depression. And children of the parents who are suffering from depression, suffer an attack of depression much earlier than children whose parents are healthy. The group of children who are also at risk are those who are from disadvantaged and conflict families, children or adolescents who abuse alcohol or drugs.(Trowell, Miles and Rustin 25)
As far as I understand, methods of treatment are the same for both adults and children. The basic methods are psychotherapy (counseling by a psychiatrist) and medical preparations. The only the difference between the treatment of the child by an adult, it is a role that child's family and his environment plays in his treatment. Child psychiatrist, in most cases, will designate primarily psychotherapy, and only after that in case if there is no improvement, the doctor will prescribe the medications. Recent studies show that a combination of psychotherapy and medication gives the best result.
According to research, the first depression in children occurs at an early age. It is very important to make a diagnosis and treatment at an early stage, since depression can cause the development of more serious mental illnesses. None of the parents did not want to believe that the child has depression, and therefore appeal to professionals all the time is delayed. However, treatment of depression is important for the further emotional and physical development, as well as the growth of the baby.
Stark, Kevin Douglas. Childhood Depression. New York: Guilford Press, 1990. Print.
Trad, Paul V. Infant And Childhood Depression. New York: Wiley, 1987. Print.
Trowell, Judith, Gillian Miles, and Michael Rustin. Childhood Depression. London: Karnac Books, 2011. Print.
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