Depression in Adolescence
Psychological development of depression
Pre school children- depression rare
Age 6-8- May feel sad without “cognitive reasons”
Child “intuits” feelings and cannot give
Reasons for them.
Persistent negative moods rare
Adolescence – mentally more developed and the adolescent will seek a “cause” for unhappy and negative feelings and moods. The negative feelings may affect self-esteem and feelings of self worth.
Adolescence is also a time of change in how the person obtains positive feelings. During this stage of development, the youth is forced to obtain self esteem and meaning from (peer) relationships and activities that are outside the family.
This transition is rarely a smooth one.
Adolescents are faced with self worth being based on new criteria, and they have little experience in how to project success and failure. Hence, overreaction to events is frequent. S/he may be overly elated at a success and overly upset over a bad grade, relationship or event on a ball field.
Overreactions are common, which is one reason suicide is a higher risk for this group.
A social rebuff is a catastrophe
A bad grade means that you won’t get into college.
Signs of depression in Adolescence
Low self esteem and guilt
Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure, giving up easily on tasks
Difficulty with relationships
Frequent complaints of such things as headaches, stomachaches.
Persistent boredom, low energy
More significant signs:
Frequent sadness, crying
Major change in eating or sleeping habits
Running away or efforts to run away from home
Any suicidal attempt should be taken very seriously. If it is attention seeking or a “cry for help”, if the conditions are not resolved, other attempts are likely.