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August 1970

Depressive Illness in Childhood Presenting as Severe Headache

Author Affiliations

St. Louis
From the departments of psychiatry (Dr. Ling), pediatrics, and neurology (Drs. Oftedal and Weinberg), Washington University School of Medicine; and Division of Neurology, St. Louis Children's Hospital, St. Louis.

Am J Dis Child. 1970;120(2):122-124. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1970.02100070066005

A group of 25 children presenting with headache to a child neurology service were retrospectively evaluated for the presence of depression by using a set of arbitrarily chosen criteria based on observable behavioral factors. A significant number (ten of 25) were shown to have a depressive illness recognizable by the criteria used. It seems reasonable to assume that childhood depression as a clinical entity does occur and could be recognized by a systematized clinical approach with emphasis on the behavioral changes of the patients. The criteria used in the present study appear to be useful for this purpose. It is suggested that prospective studies using these or similar criteria are warranted.

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