November 25, 2015
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Depression in Children

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Depression in children facts

  • Depression is a condition beyond normal sadness that can significantly interfere with the child's ability to function.
  • Depression affects about 2% of preschool and school-age children.
  • Depression in children does not have one single cause but rather a number of biological, psychological, and environmental risk factors that contribute to its development.
  • General symptoms of depression, regardless of age, include having a depressed or irritable mood for at least two weeks and having at least five clinical signs and symptoms.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth 10-24 years of age.
  • In order to diagnose depression, a health-care professional will likely conduct or refer for an extensive medical interview and physical examination and ask standard mental-health questions.
  • Treatment for childhood depression may include addressing any medical conditions that cause or worsen the condition. It can also include lifestyle adjustments, psychotherapy, and, for moderate to severe depression, medication.
  • Interpersonal therapy (ITP) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are the major approaches commonly used to treat childhood depression.
  • About 60% of children who take antidepressant medications get better. It may take anywhere from one to six weeks of taking medication at its effective dose to start feeling better.
  • Childhood depression is a risk factor for developing a number of other mental-health symptoms and disorders.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States in people over 5 years of age.
  • Attempts at prevention of childhood depression tend to address risk factors, strengthen protective factors, and use approaches that are appropriate for the child's developmental level.
  • Family members and friends are advised to seek mental-health evaluation and treatment for the depressed child.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/21/2014


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