Handbook of Depression in Children and Adolescents
Anyone who has ever been close to a seriously depressed child has undoubtedly been affected by the youngster's vulnerability, misery, and pain. Indeed, it is much like caring for a child who is in physical pain. For the child in the depths of depression, no activity is fun, nothing can be enjoyed, and no one can provide enough consolation or comfort. At times, the youngster may cry or whimper. There may be fits of defiance or rage and sometimes withdrawal into a numb, sullen silence. A child in this state tries the patience of parents and siblings. Remedies of every sort are tried, including gifts, punishments, bribes, lectures, pleading, and a host of others. Such efforts occasionally provide temporary relief, but more often they seem to make matters worse. Commonly, there is an emotional wall of anger and frustration between a depressed child and other fumily members that may inevitably lead to further isolation and withdrawal. If too much time passes without their being helped, many depressed children and adolescents come to believe that suicide offers the only real relief for their pain. Currently, there is a Depression Awareness Week that includes free screening at participating health and mental health settings around the United States and is designed to identify depression in adults, suggesting that society's awareness of depression and psychiatric disorders is focused to a large extent on adults.