Depression in children is qualitatively different from depression in adults – these people are more at risk for more severe illnesses in adulthood, as well, which suggests that depression in young people has the potential to be particularly problematic. 60% of adolescents with depression will have recurrences in adulthood and also have a higher rate of suicide throughout their life (Clark, Jansen, & Cloy, 2012). The symptoms of childhood depression might be mistaken for normal mood swings as pertinent to changing developmental stages, and is often presented as irritability and negative attitudes. Diagnosis of depression in children is difficult for this reason, and therefore it must be stressed how careful one must be when diagnosing mental illness in children (“Depression”, 2014). Furthermore, there is a stigma against labeling a child as depressed, which might make it even harder to diagnose depression in children. An example of this is how clinicians might be quick to diagnose children with adjustment disorder (AD) than rather consider the possibility of diagnosing with one of the more serious and long-term depressive disorders. The nature of AD is that it is a ‘temporary’ psychological reaction to an identified stressor that involves impairment in social, occupational, or school functions. This reaction must occur within 3 months of encountering the stressor and cannot last for more than 6 months (Newcorn, J.H. & Strain, J, 1992). This is tied to the historical notion that children cannot be depressed, even as psychology as a field has evolved to acknowledge that children and adolescents can be depressed.
The diagnostic criteria are similar for children and adolescents, but the symptoms present themselves differently base...
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