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