Depression in children and ADHD Counseling
Childhood and adolescent depression has increased dramatically in the past several decades. Some blame the sensitivity of children combined with the increased violence and use of video games. Others look to the increased use of drugs and alcohol in the parents that may have genetically affected their children. Others point to a mixture of problems, such as manifestations of ADHD and point out that ADHD counseling or other psychological counseling is needed to deal with the depression.
Symptoms of depression in children are very similar to those of an adult suffering from depression. The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – IV addition) lists the criteria for adult depression and depression in children as the same. Although the criteria are the same, children often do not have the vocabulary to talk about their feelings and may express them through behavior instead of words. Younger children with depression may act out their depression with phobias, separation anxiety, ADHD, or somatic complaints (body problems).
Depression in children can be observed via external signs. The child can become sick or be less spontaneous and have less energy in their normal daily activities. Young children may become tearful or irritable and become self-destructive. Depression in children in their adolescent years will exhibit academic decline, disruptive behavior and problems with their friends. The adolescent’s grades will fall along with a decline in less after school activity.
These symptoms are merely the manifestation of the problem. To rectify and help the child, one must in addition to identifying the depression understand its root causes. Causes of depression in children have not been conclusively defined. There are factors such as stressful life experiences, inconsistent parenting and a negative view of the world. Depression in children is also associated with a family history of mood disorders and the existence of other psychiatric conditions. Some feel that children inherit a predisposition to depression and anxiety but environmental triggers are necessary for manifestation.
Treatment of depression in childhood does not have a cookbook technique. The treatment must be tailored to the history of the family, the needs of the child and the risk versus benefit. Often psychotherapy is employed first and medication is supplemented if improvement is minimal.
Regardless, identifying the symptoms and understanding the causes are critical for a parent with a child who is depressed. Counseling is imperative for the overall mental health of the child. Through this child grief counseling, the child can eventually overcome the depression and the situation at home or school can be rectified.