A sharp change in mood in a 3-year-old child. What to do if your child is not in the mood

Depression in adolescence is a complex and dangerous condition. Complex - because it is rarely recognized and has many causes; dangerous - because it can lead to different outcomes, including suicide. You can prevent dire consequences if you notice the signs of depression in teenagers in time.

Why are teenagers vulnerable?

Children are very vulnerable during adolescence. At this time, they begin to realize themselves as individuals, try to find their place in the world, understand their role, and begin to talk about what they live for. Also at this age, children begin to make their first decisions independently.

Many teenagers are gullible and react very sharply to everything that happens around them. Poor performance at school, troubles in the family, first love that broke your heart - these are the main trials of life that leave an imprint on the psyche. Some people, growing up, cope painlessly with all their problems and successfully form a future model of behavior, while for others all disappointments become severe stress.

Factors that provoke a depressed state

Depression at the age of 13–18 years in adolescents can occur for the following reasons:

  1. Unfavorable atmosphere in the family. In cases where conflicts in the family are common, the child feels unhappy. He has thoughts that he is a burden to his mother and father. The cause of depression can also be excessive care on the part of parents or lack of support on their part.
  2. Frequent change of place of residence. Every time children move, they have to adapt to a new environment and look for friends. Frequent changes of place of residence provoke an unstable emotional state.
  3. Problems with studies. The workload on modern schoolchildren is prohibitively high. Everyday life includes lessons, electives, class hours, sections, classes with tutors. Not all teenagers can cope with such a load. Because of this, they begin to fall behind in their school curriculum, become upset, and feel insecure.
  4. Availability of a computer and the Internet. On the one hand, modern technologies have made children's lives easier. Almost any information and book can be found on the Internet. On the other hand, the computer has a negative impact on teenagers. They begin to get involved in games, virtual communication and thereby move away from real life, encountering a bad mood and a depressed state.

Among the causes of depression in adolescents, it is worth highlighting the processes occurring in the body at this age. During this period, structural and hormonal changes occur. Due to changes in appearance and hormonal levels, behavior and mood change, and outbursts of aggression arise. Leaders appear among children who begin to dictate their own rules and a particular way of life. Teenagers who do not meet established standards often become outcasts in society. This situation also provokes depression.

Sudden changes in mood and aggression - why it happens in girls and women: reasons for frequent changes

Sudden changes in mood and aggression
Any change in the emotional plane of a woman or girl - a sharp change in mood, aggression, is a consequence of neurophysiological mechanisms in the brain. But the reverse development of events is also possible, as a result of which the activity of all organs and systems (central nervous system, cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine and others) occurs under the control of experiences or aggression.

Why do girls and women experience such conditions? The main reasons for frequent mood swings include the following:

Physiological changes in hormonal levels:

  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding period
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Menopause
  • Taking hormonal oral contraceptives
  • Puberty and adolescence in girls
  • Lack of sex life

Pathological changes in hormonal levels:

  • Prolactinoma is a brain tumor that synthesizes the hormone prolactin.
  • Pathology of the thyroid gland - with increased production of hormones, all reactions in the body occur in an intensive mode. And, conversely, with slow production of hormones, a woman falls into a depressive state.
  • Diseases of the liver and gall bladder . Spasm of the bile ducts, production of norepinephrine and, as a result, anger and irritability.
  • Diseases of the cardiovascular system . As a result of disturbances in the functioning of the heart - tachycardia, extrasystole, adrenaline (the fear hormone) is produced.
  • Stress, worries, conflicts against the background of emotional tension.
  • Psychical deviations . For example, bipolar disorder, in which anger and melancholy are replaced by causeless laughter and joy, depression.
  • Taking medications (antidepressants), side effects of medications.
  • Use of toxic substances - drugs, smoking, alcohol.

Almost always, if the patient is correctly diagnosed and the underlying disease is eliminated, then the condition when there is a sharp change in mood goes away. The woman begins to live an ordinary life, feels a surge of strength and joy of existence.

Types of depression

There are different classifications of depression. One of them is related to behavioral characteristics and symptoms. The teenager may be:

  1. A victim. It seems to the child that he is defective and worthless. Due to the presence of such feelings, he may fall under the influence of stronger and more successful individuals. Such people can increase the child’s depressive state.
  2. Zombie. This type of depression is associated with focusing on a useless activity. This, for example, could be a passion for computer games or spending time on social networks. The child becomes like a “zombie”.
  3. A mystery. The child does not have any disease. However, it changes a lot. Changes affect worldview, behavior, etc. The reason for what is happening is unclear and unknown.
  4. A rebel. A teenager becomes like this with prolonged depression. He is irritated by a lot in the world around him. The child does not pay attention to his life, does not value it. In this case, signs of suicidal behavior are not observed.

There are 2 more states in this classification - a problem and a screen. In the first condition, teenage depression develops due to a lack of harmony in the soul. On the one hand, the child tries to do well at school, does not associate with bad companies, does not have bad habits, on the other hand, he is always depressed. All classes seem boring and uninteresting. A teenager cannot feel the taste of life.

In a depressive state, called a screen, the child hides his experiences, hides feelings and emotions from others. He tries to look as usual, doing his usual activities. However, all his actions do not bring satisfaction.

Sudden changes in mood: signs of psychological disorder

Sudden changes in mood
There is no clear line between a mental disorder and a normal state of mind. Any person in a state of passion is capable of behaving inappropriately. If there is no reason for a radical change, but within a few minutes it changes in one direction or the other, then we can talk about a mental disorder as an independent disease. A sudden change in mood, as a rule, does not just happen. This is the first sign of a psychological disorder:

Bipolar mental disorder:

  • This condition is characterized by mental agitation for several hours, days or even weeks. The first signs of the disease were described above.
  • For more information about this pathology, read the article on our website at this link .

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder:

  • The behavior of such patients is characterized by hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
  • A person’s “think-do” connection is disrupted. They do first, think later.
  • Internally, a person tries to control this, which is why sudden mood swings occur.
  • The patient withdraws into himself and does not want to communicate with the outside world.


This is a disease that causes chronic mental changes, often irreversible. Here are the types of depression:

  • Dysthymia . This is the easiest version of depression. It is easily reversible. It is also called depressive mental disorder.
  • Cyclophrenia. This is the most severe type of depression. With this disease, patients behave inappropriately, sometimes even dangerously. They tend to harm not only themselves, but also those around them. They are unable to control their mood. They react to joyful events with sadness and vice versa.

Borderline Personality:

  • Such people experience only the extremes of emotions, that is, love and hatred, hunger and satiety. Moreover, they feel this feeling at the same time.
  • A person loves madly, and the next second he can kill without thinking.
  • It is extremely difficult for the patient to interact with society.

Intermittent temper disorder:

  • People with such a mental disorder suddenly explode with anger for no apparent reason.
  • Within a few minutes their condition returns to normal.
  • Such patients are dangerous because in a fit of anger they can harm others.

Alcohol disease:

  • With constant drinking of alcohol, the state of the psyche irreversibly changes.
  • Euphoria is replaced by a decadent mood.
  • A person has inhibited reflexes, a constant feeling of fatigue, and can even lead to deviant behavior.

Only a specialist can distinguish bad character from a mental disorder. He will draw up a treatment plan and help you deal with the problem.

Symptoms of Depression in Teens

You can suspect depression in a teenager based on the following symptoms:

  • apathetic, sad state;
  • complaints of loss of strength, feeling tired;
  • forgetfulness;
  • complaints of pain (for example, headache or abdominal pain);
  • restlessness, anxiety;
  • rebellious behavior;
  • irritability;
  • frequent outbursts of anger;
  • drowsiness during the day and insomnia at night;
  • decline in school performance;
  • loss of interest in usual activities, events, favorite entertainment;
  • eating disorder (refusing to eat or overeating);
  • obsession with the theme of death.

Symptoms of teenage depression may vary at different times in life. At the age of 13–14, children try to hide their emotions and experiences from others. However, depression still manifests itself through inhibited reactions.

The main signs of depression in adolescents aged 14–18 include aggression, irritability, and mood swings. These symptoms most often arise due to difficulties in choosing a future life path. Teenagers think about the meaning of life for the first time, and it often becomes a complex mystery for them.

Mood swings are a side effect of medications and substances.

Sudden mood swings or outbursts of anger are often a symptom of drug addiction. If you are using drugs to escape problems in your life, know that you are not only making existing problems worse, but you are also creating new problems for yourself. All psychotropic drugs change the way the brain functions.

These drugs cause a surge in the action of dopamine in the brain, causing a feeling of pleasure. Gradually, the brain adapts to dopamine surges and produces less of the hormone, thus reducing its impact. Therefore, you need a larger amount of the drug to get a high dose of dopamine. Long-term abuse also alters other brain chemicals. Glutamate, a neurotransmitter implicated in cognitive function, is altered by drug abuse, negatively affecting learning and memory, behavioral control, and decision-making potential.

Realizing that you have a drug addiction is the first step towards recovery. Don't downplay the problem. Seek support from your family and friends. Don't hesitate to seek professional help.

But it’s not just the abuse of illegal substances that can cause mood swings. Some medications can also cause sudden mood swings.


, which you take for depression or bipolar disorder, may cause violent mood swings. Tell your doctor about this and he will probably prescribe other medications. Mood swings are also common in those who have just completed a long course of SSRI antidepressants (for example, Paxil). Withdrawal symptoms usually last less than two weeks and resolve on their own.

Some drugs for hypertension

medications such as lisinopril reduce sodium levels in the blood and increase potassium levels. This can lead to depression and anxiety in some people.

Some studies have shown that lowering cholesterol with statins

(eg, Simvastatin) causes mood disturbances, however, this data is not conclusive and mood swings are not officially a side effect of taking Simvastatin and many other statins. But it's better to be aware!

Some antibiotics

, such as Gentamicin and Ciprofloxacin, cause mood changes in some people.


, which is used to treat ADHD, is another medication that can cause mood swings among other side effects of its use.

If you notice severe mood swings or depressive symptoms, consult your doctor immediately. Do not stop taking the medicine yourself. Only your doctor can decide whether you should continue or stop taking the medicine.

Signs of suicidal behavior in teenagers

Suicide is the most terrible and dangerous consequence of depression. It is very important to notice the signs of suicidal behavior in time:

  • disregard for oneself (a depressed, depressed teenager refuses the usual daily hygiene procedures, says that no one needs him and no one pays any attention to him);
  • lack of plans for the future;
  • preparations for death (a teenager says goodbye to loved ones, stops doing favorite things, writes farewell letters);
  • making threats to kill oneself.

Depression in girls and boys: distinctive features

Depression manifests itself differently in adolescents of different genders. The girl usually withdraws into herself. She prefers to stay at home, does not communicate with friends, or cannot establish contacts with other people at all. Loneliness and isolation are the result of low self-esteem, underestimation of oneself as an individual. The roots of this problem often lie in the family. Parents sometimes do not praise their children, but, on the contrary, try to find some shortcomings in their actions.

Boys with depression often become involved in bad company, become overly fond of alcoholic beverages, and some even decide to try drugs. Teenagers turn to the wrong path in life because they want to forget about their problems and run away from the injustice of the modern world.

Treatment for children experiencing depression

Depression in teens is devastating. For this reason, you should not wait until all symptoms disappear. The question of how to help a teenager get out of depression should be addressed by a specialist together with his parents.

For mild forms of depression, treatment is carried out at home. Throughout the course, the teenager lives a normal life: attends school, does homework, goes to sections and clubs, helps parents, etc. In severe cases, when thoughts of death are tormented or there have been suicide attempts, doctors in hospitals provide treatment.

Search for a specialist

The effectiveness of treatment largely depends on the specialist, so parents are advised to pay attention to finding one. It is advisable that this is a highly qualified professional with extensive experience in working with adolescents.

When choosing a specialist, it is important to take into account the child’s opinion. If a teenager does not feel comfortable with any psychologist, then it is worth turning to another.

Conducting psychotherapy

Treatment of adolescent (childhood) depression most often involves the use of psychotherapy. Different methods are used. One of them is fairy tale therapy. This method allows the child to understand himself and the world around him, and gain personal meaning. Each occasion requires certain tales. They are written either by a psychologist or by a teenager. Through fairy tales:

  • a search for the meaning of life and solutions to existing problems is carried out;
  • knowledge about the world and the system of relationships in it is deciphered;
  • the child’s inner world improves;
  • knowledge is revealed that lives in the soul of a teenager and is therapeutic for him at the moment.

Cognitive behavioral therapy may be an appropriate treatment option. She focuses on the development of cognitive abilities, assigning a positive stimulus to existing experiences, and building social contacts. In cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, individual and group trainings and conversations are conducted. The psychologist changes the child’s cognitive attitudes, plans and structures the activity and daily routine together with him.

In cases where a teenager needs to increase self-esteem and develop the ability to express his feelings and independently cope with emerging problems, interpersonal therapy is necessary. Specialists use a variety of techniques, taking into account the client’s age (psychoanalysis, play therapy, projective techniques using pictures, etc.).

Also, for adolescent (childhood) depression, family psychotherapy can be performed. It aims to change the factors that provoke depression and arise within the family system. Treatment methods include counseling, participation in a Balint group, which improves the quality of communication between parents and their child and eliminates illiteracy in solving complex family problems.

Drug treatment: antidepressants for teenagers

Drug treatment for adolescents is rarely prescribed. It is used for severe forms of depression when psychotherapy does not help. This treatment consists of taking antidepressants. Based on the method of application and severity of side effects, they are divided into first-line and second-line drugs.

First-line antidepressants include Zoloft, Paxil, Fevarin, Prozac, etc. Features of these drugs:

  • outpatient appointment;
  • minimal number of side effects;
  • ease of use of drugs (usually once a day at the prescribed dose);
  • safety for the patient in case of overdose.

Second-line antidepressants are drugs such as Amitriptyline, Melipramine, Anafranil, Ludiomil, etc. They have the following features:

  • These drugs treat depression in adolescents only in specialized medical institutions;
  • the drugs have a pronounced psychotropic effect;
  • When taking second-line antidepressants, the likelihood of side effects is high.

What to pay attention to during treatment with antidepressants?

If a doctor has prescribed antidepressants for a teenager to treat depression, then the parents’ task is to take into account the following nuances:

  1. The child must be under constant supervision. At first, the medication may cause the patient to experience suicidal thoughts. Their presence can be guessed if a teenager moves away from his relatives and friends, stops communicating with them, starts giving away his own things, talking about death or drawing gloomy images.
  2. The patient must take medications strictly as prescribed. You cannot stop taking prescribed medications, as this will negatively affect the outcome of treatment and cause undesirable consequences. Antidepressants are withdrawn gradually. The doctor prescribes a reduced dose of medication each time.
  3. Prescribed antidepressants for children are not always suitable. If any suspicious symptoms occur during use, you should consult a doctor for advice.

Help for teenage girls

The question of how to help a teenage girl cope with depression deserves special attention. Studies have shown that life situations leave deeper imprints on the psyche of girls. Children often doubt themselves and their abilities. Girls have a much harder time coping with problems than boys.

Girls need attention from people around them. First of all, teenagers need the approval and support of their parents. Moms and dads can help their daughters realize their importance in this world and gain self-confidence.

"Acute" age periods

Psychologists classify the crisis of three years as acute. Indeed, during this period the baby becomes difficult to control, his behavior is almost impossible to correct. The child’s most used words are “I don’t want.” And they speak about this not in words, but in actions: the baby throws toys in response to a request to put them in the basket, runs away when you call him.

Any prohibition or refusal of your child’s wishes causes a violent reaction of protest. Hysterics begins: the baby yells, stomps his feet, and may even swing his fists at you, portraying the most serious and angry face. In such a situation, parents are perplexed: what to do? What happened to their previously so sweet and cheerful child?

According to experts, nothing terrible most likely happened. The baby just grows, and during this period begins to feel like an independent person. Accordingly, he becomes more active, persistent, and sometimes even stubborn in achieving what he wants. Only he does not yet have enough skills and strength for complete independence.

What to do if a child is “covered” by a crisis of 3 years? Adviсe:

  • firstly, do not try to “break” the baby, shout at him, punish him, get angry and offended by the baby. Thanks to such positions, parents are unlikely to achieve the desired result. Rather, on the contrary, the child will develop “wrong” behavior, he may begin to do everything “to spite” his parents, and all this will lead to the formation of not the most pleasant character traits of the still small person;
  • secondly, analyze the environment and your own behavior with the baby. Maybe he has objective reasons for his whims: for example, are you too strict with him, forbid him a lot? Or is someone offending him - older children or classmates in kindergarten?
  • thirdly, be patient. Your incontinence will work against you. Try to understand your baby: most likely, he himself would like to calm down, but he cannot, he does not know how. Be patient with his screams and hysterics, do not make a “scene” in response. Better help him switch to some other, more constructive process: show him bright pictures, turn on his favorite song. Who, if not you, knows better than anyone what your baby likes?
  • fourthly, understand that any crisis is not eternal. And this behavior will also go away in about six months or a year. Of course, if you take the right position and help the baby;
  • and finally, if you notice something unusual in your baby’s behavior, for example, he doesn’t want to communicate with anyone, makes repetitive monotonous movements, doesn’t react emotionally to the behavior of others - doesn’t laugh, isn’t interested in toys, doesn’t get scared - be sure to Show the baby to a pediatric psychoneurologist. Unfortunately, no one can exclude the risk of developing early childhood autism - a unique deviation in mental development. And the sooner you start correction, the more successful its result will be.

A difficult period in a child's life. At this moment, a very important event for the little person occurs - entering school. Now the whole world no longer revolves around him, as before, he cannot play and run all the time. The need to sit at a desk for a long time and maintain discipline can also provoke frequent mood swings.

Among other things, during this period the child experiences intense physical growth, complex mental functions quickly develop, and fine motor skills improve.

Against the backdrop of the need to adapt to a new environment and previously unfamiliar requirements, some children may develop the so-called “school neurosis” - a whole complex of disorders and deviations: anxiety, fear of being late, loss of appetite, sometimes nausea and even vomiting. Another variant of this neurosis is reluctance to get up and get dressed for school, answer the teacher’s questions, forgetfulness and inattention.

How to successfully survive the crisis of a first-grader? Adviсe:

  • do not rush to send your child to school without consulting a pediatrician and psychologist. If they think that the baby is not quite ready for school yet, there is no need to force him: everything has its time, and, most likely, next year it will be much easier and easier for him to start studying;
  • If possible, do not overload the “first-time students” with electives: music classes, sports sections and clubs. Let them get used to school well first;
  • Create a calm, unobtrusive atmosphere for your child at home, where he can relax and do his homework. Let the home become a place for the little man where he is always welcome, regardless of his grades and academic performance, where he is not subject to unreasonable demands and is not punished for an unlearned lesson. Remember, the child is only “learning to learn” - help him with this with warm and friendly participation.

This is the age when children consider themselves already adults, and parents “in the old fashioned way” see them as still small. A conflict of interests arises in the family, often very acute. But, in addition to changes in relationships, the child also experiences a period of intense physiological development. Functional disorders in the functioning of the lungs, heart, and cerebral blood supply are observed, and changes in vascular and muscle tone appear.

As a result of such changes, the physical state changes dramatically, and the mood echoes it. Therefore, we can observe the following picture: a teenager, who had just been in a cheerful and cheerful mood, suddenly falls into apathy, begins to feel sad and mopey. Or, conversely, sadness gives way to bouts of laughter.

Boys in adolescence often become unrestrained, excitable, and aggressive, while girls acquire an unstable mood. But for both, increased sensitivity often coexists with indifference and selfishness, coldness towards loved ones.

The teenager strives to prove to everyone that he is independent and independent. Such a need to assert oneself can push one to take risks - not being able to assert oneself in creativity, study, or sports, a teenager fulfills this need through alcohol, smoking, drugs, and early sexual intercourse. Equally important is the so-called “herd feeling” - the desire to spend time in a group of peers.

How to survive this difficult crisis for children and parents? Adviсe:

  • try to treat your child like an adult. Understand that he needs this most now;
  • If it is important for you to achieve something from your child, do not categorically dictate your terms, but try to gently guide him to a certain decision. Let the teenager take it as his own. Everyone benefits from this approach - the parent gets what they want, and the teenager increases his self-esteem;
  • and we must warn you: if your child behaves completely unusually, he develops bizarre hobbies, his mood fluctuates sharply, he withdraws into himself, is aloof and cold, be sure to consult a specialist!

And remember that age-related crises are a pattern. But the degree of their occurrence can vary from almost imperceptible to very painful and acute. How your child will survive crises depends not only on his developmental characteristics, but also on the conditions of his life and upbringing. That is, from you, dear parents. If you are self-possessed and patient, your family has a calm and friendly atmosphere, most likely your child will calmly survive all age-related crises.

Prevention of depression

Improving the family climate plays an important role in preventing the onset of signs of depression in adolescents aged 13–18 years. Parents are recommended:

  1. In the process of education, try to avoid humiliation and punishment. Your negative actions can only make a teenager feel useless or inferior.
  2. If a child is faced with any problems, then you should not torment him with moralizing. Often, teenage depression develops due to parental instructions. In difficult life moments, it is important to first listen to the child. Only then can you give appropriate advice.
  3. Do not keep the child under constant supervision and guardianship. Excessive control on the part of parents turns a teenager into an insecure and dependent person.
  4. Do not force anyone to do as the mother or father wants, and do not force them to choose a particular profession. A teenager is a person who needs a sense of freedom.

Treating and preventing depression in troubled adolescents is not an easy task. It can only be solved with the cooperation of parents and a psychologist or psychiatrist. Only comprehensive measures can achieve a positive result.

IMPORTANT! Informational article! Before taking any measures, you should consult your doctor.

Answer from a child psychologist:

Hello, Elena.

Mood swings, strange behavior - all this can be the norm for adolescence, a peculiar reaction to some crisis situation in the life of a teenager, or perhaps a sign of an emerging problem, for example, depression or anxiety. The first thing to do is start talking to your child. Just remember that he is no longer a kid, but an adult who has the right to his opinion and who is trying to independently find a way out of his problem. In conversation, avoid categorical language and do not put pressure on the child. It is possible that only gradually he will reveal his secrets and problems to you. If mood swings are not too frequent, calming herbal teas, pine baths, and the drug Tenoten for children will help normalize the psycho-emotional state of a teenager - this calming drug, specially designed to relieve nervous tension and correct the behavior of children, does not cause daytime drowsiness or addiction . If sudden mood swings are repeated frequently, you should seek help from a psychologist.

Sincerely, Makarov Viktor Viktorovich.

It is natural for people to be upset and depressed because of problems and difficulties, just as it is natural for people to be happy and experience positive emotions. But sometimes mood swings occur regardless of the situation, disrupt the usual flow of life, and create tension in relationships with family members, colleagues, and friends. If this happens frequently and without reason, the person may be suffering from some type of emotional disorder or physical illness.

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