From the littlest problems to biggest ones, we easily diagnose “depression”. Is this disorder as innocent and simple as it seems?


Recently, depression is observed in many people. Compared to early years, this disorder is encountered more often and earlier. Depression may present itself for many reasons in any age group. Unfortunately, many families see this disorder as a grown up problem and ignore their children’s unhappiness. If taking precaution is delayed, it gets more difficult to prevent the progression of the disease. How to tell that a person gets depressed?


Sypmtoms of Depression:

In minimum two weeks of period;


·         Impaired function; Depressed mood for most of the day, and diminished interest or pleasure for activities.


·         Feeling sad and empty; appearing tearful for most of the day, feeling exhausted and sad.


·         Gaining or losing weight; significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (a change of  more than 5% of body weight in a month), loss or increase in appetite.


·         Sleeping problems; insomnia or hypersomnia.


·         Fatigue or loss of energy.


·         Feeling oneself worthless.


·         Blaming oneself for his/her feelings.


Types of Depression:


·         Major Depressive Disorder,


·         Chronic Depression,


·         Atypical Depression,


·         Bipolar Depression or Manic Depression,


·         Seasonal Depression,


·         Psychotic Depression,


·         Postpartum Depression,


·         Anaclytic Depression


Depression can be accompanied with;


·         Substance Abuse (drugs, alcohol, cigarettes),


·         Thoughts of suicide or attemps,


·         Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,


·         Conduct Disorder,


·         Seperation Anxiety Disorder,


·         Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


Features of Depression Due to Age:


1.Infancy and Preschool Period:


Compared to adults, the begining of depression in children can be more sneaky. Since it is difficult for a preschool child to express oneself, it is important that the caregiver should notice the changes on the child.


·         Apathy


·         Social Withdrawal


·         Insomnia


·         Weight Loss/Weight Gain


·         Night Terrors


These features should be followed closely and differences should be noticed earlier. It should be remembered that if child is seperated from caregiver, he/she can develop depression. Children in this period can not fully define their mental state verbally. So, child’s facial expressions, reactions, body gesture and attandance to activities give us clues about his/her mental state.


2.School Age / Prepubescent Children:


As children grow up, their ability to express themselves develop. On these ages, children try to hide the problems they are experiencing from their parents, and try to deal with them by themselves. Depressive children on this age experience suicidal thoughts, headaches and stomachaches, sleep disorders, withdrawal, difficulty in making friends, difficulty in focusing, academic failure, mood swings, and loss of interest.


On these situations, it is important for parents to give sufficient information about the child.




Depression of adolescents looks similar to the depression of adults when compared to other age groups. As age increases, individuals seek different ways to cope with depression. Alcohol and drug abuse are one of them. The individual uses these substances to get rid of bad mood, to be happy for a moment and to relax. Adolescents with depression make sudden changes on their feelings, thoughts and relationships.


In these three phases, the relationship triangle of family with the doctor (Doctor-Parents-Child) should be healthy and stable. Sometimes, the information taken from the family plays a key role; and sometimes, the doctor shows the right way to the family to communicate with their children.


While approaching your children, you shouldn’t forget that they are an individual just like you and you should consider their own feelings and thoughts. Childhood forms the basis of rest of the life.


“Childhood is the sleep of reasons”

Jean Jacques Rousseau



(Published in Yeni Asır newspaper on 28.02.2013) 

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