Depression is a state of sadness or apathy that lasts for more than two weeks and that significantly affects our quality of life. In depression we distinguish the depressive episode and dysthymia. A depressive episode is characterized by a feeling of marked sadness, lack of appetite, difficulty sleeping, feelings of guilt and a feeling of inferiority. These symptoms last at least two weeks and are not due to a grieving death or separation from a loved one. A depressive episode is very painful, and it is important to fight it as soon as possible to avoid becoming chronic and more likely to relapse.
Dysthymia is a low state of permanent mood (in the case of children of at least 1 year duration) with symptoms of apathy but without the intensity of a depressive episode. In the case of children, it can be manifested as a tendency to be introverted or unwilling to talk, and often goes unnoticed by adults.
In children depression sometimes occurs in a masked form. The child is irritable, has recurring tantrums or even stops interacting with their environment. for this reason, it is important to be alert to any sign that indicates a change in behaviour in our child, in order to intervene as soon as possible.
In adolescents, they tend to have a sense of shortening of the future, where they feel that what is to come is going to be especially negative. In addition, they tend to self-evaluate negatively, so their self-esteem is often severely affected. Dysthymia is a sad or apathetic chronic mood. The sadness is less intense, but it is maintained for at least two years. The symptoms are a state of sadness almost every day accompanied by hopelessness, apathy, fatigue, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating and lack (or excess) of appetite. Combating dysthymia is a hard task, since becoming chronic becomes part of the person’s way of being, which may even seem to forget what it was like before being so sad. Therefore, an early intervention and a therapeutic process are essential. Both depression and dysthymia are combated through the performance of activities, social activities, support from the environment, cognitive restructuring and interpersonal therapy. In the case of children and adolescents, the most effective is to encourage pleasant activities, and to work together with parents emotional communication.
Psychotherapy is a great help for your child, do not hesitate to contact