Major Depressive Disorder
Characteristics, signs, symptoms and psychiatric management.
For a long time, many mental health professionals believed that depressive disorder was illness that only adults might develop because children and adolescents were too emotionally immature to be depressed (Mondimore, 2002). However, research has revealed that depressive disorder can be developed at any age. The DSM-IV (APA, 1994) indicates that a person who suffers from a major depressive disorder requires either a depressed mood or a loss of interest and pleasure in daily activities for at least a two-week period. These criteria for a diagnosis of depression in adolescents are mostly the same for adults. The question arises here is whether these symptoms displayed by adolescents are considered for a major depressive disorder. For example, listening to music with nihilistic themes or writing morbid poetry may not be rare among adolescents but it can be a sign of pervasive sadness (Powell, 2000). Also, other depressive symptoms found among adolescents tend to be overlooked and are often regarded as s sign of being lazy, stubborn or simply not trying hard as such behavioural characteristics of depression can also be normal in their age group (Mondimore, 2002).