Depression in Children (cont.)

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What are complications of depression in children?

Childhood depression is a risk factor for developing a number of other mental-health symptoms and disorders. Children with depression are also at risk of having poor academic performance and engaging in alcohol and other drug abuse. As adults, people who suffered from depression during childhood and adolescence are at risk for job disruptions, as well as family and other social upheaval during adulthood.

What is the prognosis of depression in children?

Depression can be quite chronic, in that 85% of people who have one episode of the illness will have another one within 15 years of the first episode. Children with depression are at higher risk of developing severe mental illness as adults compared to children who do not experience depression. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States in people over 5 years of age. Childhood depression is associated with a number of potentially negative outcomes, including the child having problems at school, interpersonally, with drugs, and attempting suicide.

Can depression in children be prevented?

Attempts at prevention of childhood depression tend to address both specific and nonspecific risk factors, strengthen protective factors, and use an approach that is appropriate for the teen'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 helpful.

Protective factors for teen depression include having the involvement of 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' illness. For depressed parents, their children seem to be more protected from developing the illness when the parent is able to demonstrate a commitment to parenting and to relationships.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/21/2014

Depression Pictures Slideshow: Physical Symptoms of Depression