Symptoms of depression in children and adolescents in relation to psychiatric comorbidities

Vadaskert Korhaz, Budapest, Hungary.
Psychiatria Hungarica: A Magyar Pszichiatriai Tarsasag tudomanyos folyoirata 07/2012; 27(2):115-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.neurenf.2012.04.240
Source: PubMed


The lifetime prevalence of MDD before adolescence is 4-5%, while the symptoms concern 13-20% of the adolescents. In the development of suicidal behaviour the most important risk factors are the use of psychoactive drugs and smoking. Psychiatric comorbidities are aggravating significantly the major depression. The comorbidities are high among major depression, anxiety and disruptive disorders.
We examined 649 children being in a depressive episode diagnosed by ISCA-D semi-structured interview, 45,9% of them were girls, and 54,1% were boys, the mean age was 11,7 years ( SD=2,00). The participants were enrolled into three groups according to their comorbidities: group with only depression without comorbidities, group with anxiety comorbidity, and group with disruptive comorbidity. We compared the three groups according to the frequency of their depressive symptoms.
Anxiety comorbidities increase the incidence of depressive symptoms. Among the criteria symptoms irritability where the most frequent symptom independently from the comorbidities, the depressed mood is the most frequent within the anxiety group, while anhedonia occurred with a moderate frequency in each groups. In the anxiety group the vegetative symptoms, while in the disruptive group the psychomotor agitation and the feeling of worthlessness are the most frequent symptoms. Comorbidities are increasing the incidence of the suicide symptoms. The incidence of impaired decision making was high in each group, the comorbidities didn't influence it's frequency. Among depressed boys irritability and feelings of worthlessness (low self-esteem) increase the presence of externalisation comorbidity. Among depressed girls guilt was significantly more frequent in the anxiety comorbidity group, and concentration problems are the most typical symptoms in the clear MDD group, without comorbidities.

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    ABSTRACT: Although poor parental bonding is a known risk factor for suicidality, current literature is inconsistent about the relative role of low parental care and parental overprotection, as well as the combination of the two, termed "affectionless control". This review presents the current state of knowledge of the relationship between suicidality and these two aspects of parental bonding. The computerized databases Medline, PubMed, PsychINFO, PsychLit, and Google Scholar were searched using combinations of the following keywords: suicidality, suicide, suicide attempt, suicidal behavior, parental bonding, and parental bonding instrument. Using the results, we reviewed the reports on the relationship between suicidality and parental bonding as measured by validated parental bonding instruments. Twelve papers were analyzed. All of them used the parental bonding instrument (PBI) and one used both the PBI and the object representation inventory (ORI). Most reports agreed that, in mothers, either lack of maternal care and/or overprotection was associated with an increase in suicidal behavior, while in fathers only low care was consistently associated with suicidality. This lack of constancy with regard to the effect of paternal overprotection appears to be due to cultural differences in fathers' role in child rearing. With these differences acknowledged, affectionless control in both parents emerges as the parenting style most strongly associated with suicidal behavior. Common methodological problems included low numbers of subjects, inconsistent control groups, and the lack of a uniform definition of suicidality. Despite methodological limitations, current literature consistently indicates that parental affectionless control is associated with suicidal behavior. Recognizing affectionless control as a risk factor for suicide and developing early interventions aimed at modifying affectionless and overprotective parenting style in families with a history of affective disorders may be effective in reducing suicidal risk.
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