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David Baxter

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Childrens' depression symptoms often differ from adults'
Saturday, 15 March 2008

Depression is not always manifested in children as dejection and anhedonia. Depending on the age of the child, the dominant features may be weeping, irritability or defiance, according to research by Prof Claudia Mehler-Wex and Dr Michael K?lch of Ulm University, Germany.

The signs of depression in infants are often screaming, restlessness, and weeping attacks for no clear reason. Preschool children may behave irritably and aggressively, while schoolchildren may be listless and apathetic. The symptoms in adolescents become similar to those in adults.

It is thought that up to 3.5% of children and 9% of adolescents in industrial countries are depressive. In particular, the risk of depression increases from the age of 12. In a third of minors, the depressive symptoms subside within three months. However, in 80% of those affected, the symptoms may reappear and become chronic.

Mehler-Wex and K?lch emphasize that psychotherapy and psychosocial therapy are mostly necessary. The antidepressive fluoxetine can also be used. Patients with a severe clinical course, a difficult family background or suicidal tendencies may need to be admitted to hospital.

Depressive minors also often exhibit anxiety disorders and disturbed social behavior followed by substance abuse and aggression.

Source: Mehler-Wex C, K?lch M. Depression in Children and Adolescents. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2008;105(9):149-55. [Abstract]
 

braveheart

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When I was growing up, my depression manifested as irritability and withdrawal.
 

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