- Understanding Depression Slideshow
- Take the Depression Quiz
- Depression Tips Slideshow
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
- Depression in children facts
- What is childhood depression?
- What are the types of depression in children?
- What are causes and risk factors for depression in children?
- What are the symptoms and warning signs of depression in children?
- How do health care professionals diagnose depression in children? What health care specialists diagnose and treat childhood depression?
- What should parents do if they suspect that their child is depressed?
- What is the treatment for depression in children?
- What are complications of depression in children?
- What is the prognosis for depression in children?
- Is it possible to prevent depression in children?
- Where can families get information and support for childhood depression?
Quick GuidePhysical Symptoms of Depression in Pictures
What are complications of depression in children?
Depression during childhood puts sufferers at risk for developing a number of other mental-health issues. Children with depression are also more likely to have poor academic performance and to engage in alcohol and other drug abuse. As adults, people who had depression during childhood and adolescence are at risk for having trouble maintaining employment, as well as family and other social disruptions during adulthood.
What is the prognosis for depression in children?
Depression can be chronic, in that 85% of people who have one episode of the disorder will have another one within 15 years of the first episode. Depressed individuals who have been exposed to trauma are less likely to respond to treatment with antidepressant medication than those who have not experienced trauma. Young people with depression are more likely to develop severe mental illness during adulthood compared to children who do not suffer from depression. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States for people over 5 years of age, particularly for females. Childhood depression is a risk factor for a number of potentially negative outcomes, like academic and interpersonal problems, as well as issues with drugs and attempting suicide.
Is it possible to prevent depression in children?
For children, from infancy through the teenage years, strong, healthy attachment between the child and parent can help protect the child from developing depression. Parental behaviors that tend to foster health attachment with their children involve consistent love and care, as well as attentive responsiveness to the child's needs, including age-appropriate steps toward the child's gradual independence.
Preventing depression in childhood tends to involve addressing risk factors, both specific and nonspecific, strengthening other protective factors, and using an appropriate approach for the child's developmental level. Such programs often use cognitive behavioral and/or interpersonal approaches, as well as family based prevention strategies because research shows that these interventions are the most effective.
Protective factors for adolescent depression include involving supportive adults, strong family and peer relationships, healthy coping skills, and emotional regulation. Children of a depressed parent tend to be more resilient when the child is more able to focus on age-appropriate tasks in their lives and on their relationships, as well as being able to understand their parents' condition. For depressed parents, their children seem to be less likely to develop the disorder when the parent is able to demonstrate a commitment to parenting and to relationships.