Child Depression – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Depression is a serious mental health problem that affects people of all ages, including children. Childhood depression is different from the normal “blues” and everyday emotions that occur as a child develops. Just because a child seems depressed or sad, does not necessarily mean they have depression. Upto 2.5% of children aged 6 to 12 may have a major depressive disorder, with boys and girls at equal risk. After puberty the rates climb to the same incidence as adults with girls twice as likely to become depressed as boys. Children also have temporary periods of sadness or unhappiness, from which they recover quickly. However, it is estimated that approximately 5% of children suffer from severe depression, which can affect their daily activities at school and at home.Children are more likely to appear irritable than depressed and bored rather than sad. It is estimated that 2.5% of children in the U.S. suffer from depression. Depression is significantly more common in boys under the age of 10. But by age 16, girls have a greater incidence of depression.

Major depressive order does run in families, so children are more likely to develop the disorder if one or both of parents have it. The primary symptoms of child depression revolve around sadness, a feeling of hopelessness, and mood changes.In many ways, the symptoms are similar to those of adult depression. In the DSM-IV, the criteria for childhood and adult Major Depression are the same. Children may not have the vocabulary to talk about such feelings and so may express their feelings through behavior. Childhood depression is also associated with a family history of mood disorders and with the existence of other psychiatric conditions If the relative has had childhood or recurrent depression. Psychological and environmental factors include the loss of loved ones, conflicts in child-parent relationships, and low self-esteem. Major depressive order does run in families, so children are more likely to develop the disorder if one or both of parents have it.

Causes of Child Depression

1.Psychological factors.

2.Environmental factors.

3.Anxiety disorder

4.Behavior disorder

5.Deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

6.Eating disorder.

Symptoms of Child Depression

1.Low self esteem and lack of confidence.

2.Persistent feeling of sadness.

3.Inability to enjoy previously favorite activities.

4.Increased activity or irritability.

5.Loss of interest in usual activities, listlessness and fatigue.

6.Poor appetite or binge eating.

Treatment of Child Depression

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one therapy most used for treating depression.The therapist helps kids to identify cognitive distortions. Treatment must be tailored to the needs and schedule of the child and his family. Generally, with mild to moderate depression, one first tries psychotherapy and then adds an antidepressant if the therapy has not produced enough improvement.Interpersonal therapy has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression. Continuing psychotherapy for several months after remission of symptoms may help children and families pull together the skills they have learned during the acute phase of depression to cope with the after-effects of depression. The role that family and the child’s environment play in the treatment process is different from that of adults. Children with bipolar disorder are usually treated with psychotherapy and a combination of medicines, usually an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer. Use of an antidepressant alone can trigger bouts of mania.