What Does a Dysthymic Child Look Like?
As explained earlier, dysthymic children often think the way they feel is a normal way of life. Therefore, often they don't report having any symptoms, so your observations and those made by others becomes critical. Still other dysthymic children know something is wrong but don't know how to describe it so they keep it to themselves.
A child with dysthymia has fewer and less severe symptoms than a child with depression. A dysthymic child is ultimately more impaired by his symptoms because the episode lasts so long. Do not overlook treatment because you think he is merely unhappy or reacting to something. It's worth it to get him professionally evaluated.
It is true that dysthymic children are sad. But even more common is anger. For some reason, anger is a very common depressive symptom in children. The anger might also manifest itself in an irritable mood.
The healthiest of adolescents can be unpleasant little creatures! Deciphering what is normal teenage angst and reactivity from what is dysthymia can be a very difficult task. Irritability and anger are common, but if they seem to be absent more often than not or out of reason with the current situation, you need to be watchful.
When the anger and hostility that teens are feeling becomes out of control, they become rebellious. They may be openly defiant, refusing to obey your rules. Fights and juvenile delinquency can occur. High-risk behaviors such as unprotected sex or substance use might be present.
A child can be angry for no reason and may not show any discernible pattern of anger. When this is the case, a child is more likely to be depressed. The anger is more likely to occur later in the day than the first thing in the morning. In other words, reactive anger toward a person or event is a sign of more normal angry response.