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About one third of teenagers in Poland have symptoms of depression. One in 100 has thoughts of suicide. Both the children themselves should be able to cope with it, and here they need self-awareness, as well as parents whose way and method of upbringing can affect the psyche of children in a very different way.

Depression in children and adolescentsis as serious a problem as it is among adults. Unfortunately, parents often do not realize that their child's aggression, mood swings, and laziness are not the result of youthful rebellion, butsymptoms of depression , a serious disease that destroys the body and can lead to drama.

Symptoms of youthful depression

Until recently, it was held that a child's cognitive development was insufficient for depression to develop. And the depressive syndrome cannot show up until puberty is over. Today, psychiatrists have no doubts that depression also affects children and adolescents, but manifests itself in a different way than in adults. Often very far from the common understanding of this disease.

Depression is associated with sadness, depression and apathy. Meanwhile, in adolescents, these symptoms may appear slightly or not at all. Often, arrogance, aggression or abnegation come to the fore - behaviors that we confuse with "obvious" rebellion against the surrounding world at this age. Sometimes the disease hides behind physical ailments, such as headaches or stomachaches. The suffering that accompanies it deprives teenagers of hope and meaning in life, and often pushes them to suicide. Many tragedies could have been prevented if we were to pay more attention to children. Let's get to know their expectations, troubles and dreams. Because the things that seem unimportant to us may be a problem for a child.

Life is beyond the child - the cause of youthful depression

To understand the essence of adolescent depression, one needs to realize what the transition from childhood to adulthood actually means for a teenager. We all know that this is a very difficult time, but we are probably not fully aware of what this difficulty is. The hormonal storm itself, resulting from physiological changes in the body, leads to emotional instability and can take its toll on the teenager. It is difficult to control your own psyche when a person is tormented by strong and, additionally, extreme emotions. No less difficultit becomes the confrontation of a young man with reality. A teenager in his teens begins to notice conflicts in the family, as well as poverty, violence, hypocrisy, cronyism, and injustice that rule the world of adults. On the one hand, he rebels against it, on the other - he feels fear and hopelessness. As a person grows up, he wonders what his life will be like in the future. People from less prosperous families do not see any prospects for themselves, they are worried about their social status. In addition, there are the requirements at school, the discrepancy between the exorbitant expectations of overly ambitious parents and the child's abilities. If the child is urgent, but the grades are average, and the parents demand a high, then there is tension that can harm the psyche. Likewise, repeatedly criticizing a student at school can lead to depressive disorders. A teenager must find himself in a social group where everything counts: parental status, fashionable clothes and expensive gadgets, beauty, money, physical fitness, holidays in the tropics. Sometimes it is enough for colleagues to laugh at their appearance to fall into a black hole. Many young people, after changing schools or moving house, experience a long-term depression in the form of a depressive state. It is difficult to bear such a burden when you are only a dozen or so years old, an unstable nervous system and a small life experience. Not all adolescents have the mental toughness to deal with the problems that overwhelm them. In addition, they are left alone with the troubles. The parents, preoccupied with making careers and earning money, do not have time for their children. Teachers don't want to listen. Young people do not complain and do not seek help, because they think that nothing can be done or they do not know where to find it. He is afraid of being misunderstood or ridiculed. How many times has a young man heard from his parents: "In adulthood you will have trouble."


Even 6-year-olds get sick

U approx. 2 percent children, depression develops before adolescence, and about 30 percent. this group suffers from endogenous depression in adulthood. The course of the disease in children up to the age of 14 is different than in the elderly reaching adulthood. This is the result of a child's still immature psyche. The diagnosis is made more difficult by features typical for a given age. Toddlers are capricious, noisy, sometimes aggressive, overly active, have a problem with concentration (depression may be mistaken by caregivers with ADHD), they rarely show sadness. The child has trouble falling asleep or the constant need to sleep, does not gain weight in accordance with the norms. He refuses to go to school, starts to learn worse, blames himself for various things. It becomes timid from open, from calm -energized. Depression in children 6-12 years of age may be characterized by physical symptoms: abdominal pain, headache, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, bedwetting. If you notice "strange" symptoms in your child, consult a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Depression does not bypass good homes

Educated, "decent" parents often think: we are an exemplary family, we do not argue, the child learns well, so he has no right to be depressed. Meanwhile, research shows that sometimes you don't need a traumatic experience or chronic stress to develop a disease. Some adolescents are beyond puberty itself and the changes that come with it. Young people with a low self-esteem, who blame themselves for everything, or who have difficulties making social contacts, are more susceptible. People who want to be accepted by all, oversensitive and genetically burdened with the disease are at greater risk. But there is no rule - it is still unknown why some people get sick and others don't. There are many conditions that can be described as depression, and the course of the disease can vary. Among adolescents, exogenous depressions, i.e. depressions caused by an external factor, prevail. It can be the stress of school failure, parental divorce, unhappy love. Endogenous depressions are associated with innate biological factors and are usually of a genetic origin. Then the disease appears for no apparent reason.

According to an expertbow. Elżbieta Lipińska

Don't be afraid of the psychiatrist

He's the same doctor as everyone else. If you notice disturbing symptoms in your child's behavior, do not wait for them to pass by themselves, but seek their opinion as soon as possible. Ideally, it should work with children and teenagers. He will know how to establish contact with a young patient. If it turns out that it's not depression, it will teach your child to deal with stress. A young man with depression somewhere deep inside himself expects help, because he is suffering, he just doesn't talk about it. Sometimes it takes a long time to get to it, and it is often difficult for a doctor as well. The time we devote to children is the most important, it cannot be replaced by anything. Remember that a teenager needs approval and support very badly.

Youth depression is a cry for help

Symptoms of depression in adolescents occur in individual configurations and with varying intensity, similar to that in adults. Often, however, depressive behavior in adolescents does not meet all the criteria of adult depression, and the disease itself has an atypical course. The main difference is that despondency and sadness may not be visible on the faceyoung man.

There is an oppositional and rebellious attitude: arrogance and irritability, impulsiveness in contacts at home, at school, everywhere. An adolescent knows the generally accepted social norms, that, for example, one should not get drunk into unconsciousness, but break them. He abuses alcohol, experiments with drugs, has casual sex, hitting himself (auto-aggression). Other times, it provokes fights. On the one hand, he wants to fill the perceived emptiness, on the other - to impress his peers, attract attention, shout: “Mom, I am!” One of the symptoms of the disease is also a deterioration of intellectual abilities. Inferior grades, truancy, refusal to go to school. A young man does not care about his appearance, he gives away things that are important to him, he loses his interests. Suddenly, he stops enjoying what he enjoyed - he accuses him of playing sports, reading books, watching TV, meeting friends. He is closed or over-energized.

Sometimes there is a change in appetite (lack of appetite or overeating) or trouble sleeping (more often it is excessive sleepiness and a problem with getting up in the morning), as well as physical ailments (pain in the abdomen, head, spine, stomach). The child becomes obsessively interested in the subject of garbage - he reads books about it, talks about his death. Sometimes he runs away from home. These could be signs of illness. Adolescent depression is a very broad "sack". Among older adolescents, it may take the form characteristic of adults. Then, instead of aggressive behavior and emotional lability, apathy dominates. Depression, however it may appear, is always associated with existential pain.


The stats are thundering!

Every 5th teenager exhibits mental disorders. Until the age of 15, these are mainly anxiety disorders and behaviors typical of adolescent depression, while at around 18 years of age - episodes of major depression. The figures concerning suicides confirm the association with depression. In the group under the age of 14, suicide ranks 14th among the causes of death, and already 3rd among 15-24-year-olds. The motives most often include the death of a loved one (44%), school stress and unhappy love (43%), conflicts with parents (37%).

How to avoid a tragedy?

The most important for a stable child's psyche are relationships with loved ones that are built from birth. The feeling of closeness and support in the family gives a greater chance that a young person will not fall under the weight of problems. Take an interest in your child's affairs, bearing in mind that everyone has the right to make choices and make mistakes. Don't criticize all the timedon't put the bar too high, because your teen won't be able to withstand the pressure. It's important to find time to talk every day. Don't avoid difficult topics, don't postpone them. The child has the right to his or her own opinion, and it is our responsibility to listen and understand it. When dialogue is lacking, he moves away from his relatives. Parents are shocked to learn that their child is depressed. But if you look closely you can usually see symptoms of the disease. Any change in behavior should be alarming. Dropping out of the social role is always a disturbing signal. Neglecting your duties, giving up your social life. It is worth getting interested in what your child does on the Internet. If he participates in forums devoted to loneliness or suicide attempts, it may indicate that he does not feel well in the family or school, that he has a problem with which he cannot cope. People who think of suicide sometimes suddenly begin to dress in black. But that doesn't mean every young man who wears black wants to end his life. More often it is, for example, fascination with a music band or fashion. Parents who know their child can tell the difference.

You must do it

Diagnosis and what next?

When the doctor determines depression, work with the patient and parents begins. Usually psychotherapy helps. In light cases, a few support sessions may be enough, other times you need to come to therapy for several years. A psychiatrist (psychologist) has various therapeutic methods at his disposal.

  • Cognitive therapy

Its purpose is to analyze and modify wrong associations and wrong lines of thought. The patient must develop a different way of perceiving and analyzing the world.

  • Group therapy

It is supposed to improve a teenager's relations with peers, teach the ability to communicate and create relationships.

  • Family therapy

It is needed when the disease is caused by family dysfunction. This is often not an easy challenge for parents. They need to discover their emotions, talk openly about difficult matters, understand their mistakes. Believe that the child is really sick, that's why he behaves like that, and support him in this disease. As? By helping him with his daily activities and encouraging him to heal. 'Pull yourself together' advice backfires, making you feel more guilty.

  • Pharmacotherapy

Antidepressants are prescribed only when necessary, a young patient has severe anxiety, suicidal thoughts or high intensity of depressive symptoms, individually adjusting the drug and the dose. You have to keep itextreme caution. Antidepressants increase your activity first, then relieve anxiety and improve your mood. This can be dangerous because before emotional equilibrium is achieved, a young person gets a drive that can push him towards suicide. The drug should always be administered by the parents and protected from the child, who - mainly at the beginning of the treatment - must be under the watchful care of the family. In severe cases, a hospital stay is necessary.

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