Have you met adolescents or does your child seem irritable constantly? Nothing ever seems to go right for them. They are always slamming doors or talking back. You feel like they should be really happy about something and instead they just seem pissed off. What is their deal?
You understand that sometimes some things just don’t work out. Some days are just rough. But for adolescents who have depression, every day can be like this. And they run out of explanations for why it is like this. Its called irritability. And for adolescents, it can be a major part of their depression. Sometimes it makes depression hard to identify in them because a lot of people can be irritable…sometimes… But not all of the time. They might be called by other people angry, uncooperative, insubordinate, impolite, antisocial – but under it all, under how other people react to them – is this feeling of irritability that they can’t shake off although they don’t understand why.
To diagnose a major depressive episode in adults, you need to have symptoms which make you not function well and are not because of abusing a substance or another medical problem.
You need to fit these criteria:
- have symptoms for a 2 week period
- these symptoms are a change from how you were functioning before
- you have at least 5 of these symptoms:
- a depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
- losing interest
- a change in appetite
- change in sleep
- feeling like your body is slowed down or agitated
- feeling a lack of energy
- feeling worthless
- trouble concentrating or making decisions
- thinking about ending your life
To have depression, one of the symptoms you have to have is either a depressed mood or a loss of interest in life.
But if you are an adolescent, you can have depression if you have a depressed OR irritable mood.
Irritable depression can be tough to diagnose, but it is still depression, and the same treatment can help. To get to the right help, making the right diagnosis is important. Feeling irritable all the time is no fun and its important for adolescents to know that they are not just doomed to be a Scrooge for life.
Has your child dealt with irritable depression? If they had treatment, did it help their irritability?