What is Depression?
Depression is a serious mood disorder that is frequently
diagnosed in adults, yet children and adolescents are also
tends to run in families, but can also be associated with
For example, children who experience loss, family
conflict, behavior problems, and academic difficulties may
experience depression as a result of these stressors.
to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry, approximately 5% of children and adolescents
in the general population suffer from depression.
is often difficult to diagnose in children and adolescents
because the symptoms present differently than in the case
of an adult. It
is unusual for a child to state that he or she is
“sad” or “down in the dumps” as an adult might
a depressed child might present as restless, inattentive,
the confusion is the tendency for depressive symptoms in
children to mimic symptoms of other childhood disorders.
For example, a depressed child who is restless and
has trouble concentrating might be mistakenly labeled
comprehensive assessment is important in order to
determine whether a depressive disorder exists
following are common signs of depression in children and
Behavioral acting out
Isolation from family and/or friends
Restlessness and difficulty concentrating
Lack of interest in activities that were
Marked increase or decrease in sleep and/or
Feelings of hopelessness, pessimistic
Suicidal thoughts and/or behavior
Frequent physical complaints
in children and adolescents is a very treatable disorder.
As is the case in other childhood disorders, early
diagnosis and intervention is crucial.
The typical course of treatment of depression in
children involves individual as well as family therapy.
In some cases, a referral to a child psychiatrist
may be necessary, in order to assess the need for