Regression

Another consideration in the evaluation of youngsters with depression is the possibility that the stress of their illness has led to emotional and/or behavioral regression. Pediatric patients commonly regress in the hospital in the face of overwhelming stress. Behavioral regression is a predictable response to the forced helplessness and passivity imposed by the pediatric setting and may be an adaptive response in that it allows others to care for the patient. Regressed behavior in a child or adolescent may manifest in several ways, which include clingi-ness, social withdrawal, and tearfulness, and may mimic symptoms of depression. These symptoms are particularly common during the inpatient phases of a child's treatment and generally resolve spontaneously when the stress of the illness or hos-pitalization is over.

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