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Childhood Depression - Essay Example

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This paper "Childhood Depression" delves into the often maligned issue of childhood depression, its causes, and management. Childhood depression takes various forms with both biological and environmental factors contributing to the prevalence of this mental illness. …
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Childhood Depression
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Download file to see previous pages Depression also occurs in children; the diagnosis criterion is the presence of symptoms over a fortnight. The symptoms could include sadness, low enjoyment of previously enjoyable activities, and loss of appetite or feelings of low moods. Accompanying these feelings is low self-esteem, which can alter behavioral changes in an individual. In addition, this mental illness has detrimental effects on the body functions. Clinical depression can be classified into manic (bipolar), major depression and dysthymia. All of these types of clinical depression affect children at varying rates and severity (Lack & Green, 2009). Between 2- 6% of children and teenagers experience depression. Suicide, which may be caused by depression, is the third leading cause of death in individuals between 10-19 years old (Whittington et al, 2004). This paper delves into the often maligned issue of childhood depression, its causes and management. Childhood Depression Diagnosis of clinical depression in childhood is not a clear-cut issue as it elicits several debates. Firstly, it is a relatively new phenomenon while there is no agreement on the legitimacy of its diagnosis. One view holds that definitions of major depression in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM IV) do not adequately distinguish between emotions in response to loss from emotions in depression (Clarke, 2011). Another view holds that children may outgrow depression. In addition, children may be diagnosed with other mental illnesses; thus, diagnosis of childhood depression is a difficult task. People get distressed at various stages of their life. Sadness may wane over time, however, and depression may persist over longer periods of time. For children, the experiences of depression may be difficult to detect. Most therapists, health workers and clinical psychologists assumed that children were immature to undergo depression. With time, healthcare practitioners and therapists recognized the presence and nature of the illness as an identifiable mental illness. The difficulty in diagnosing depression in children is harder since adults may assume that certain behaviors are normal or are simply development stages. Additionally, children may not be able to communicate their feelings. Children may exhibit irritability; thus, their actions may be misinterpreted as naughtiness. Depression occurs across all races, social classes, and economic settings. A proper diagnosis of depression is crucial since less than 30% of adults and children receive the appropriate treatment (Bhatia & Bhatia, 2007).  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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