Facts About Depression in Children

While it is painful to see any child suffer, we can’t deny the fact that depression is an illness that can also strike children.

Although its extent is unknown, most specialists believe that childhood depression can be as severe as the adult form. Recognizing depression in pre-adolescent children can be difficult. However, any significant, persistent change in a child’s normal behavior can signal the possibility of depression.

Common warning signs: sad expressions; a desire to be alone (refusal to go to school, participate in group activities or to play with friends); changes in eating or sleeping habits; poor concentration, decline in school work; references to death or suicide (there is a growing recognition that children as young as five or six can have suicidal thoughts); or aggressive behavior.

A thorough examination by a child psychiatrist, psychologist or child mental health team can determine if a child is depressed. Such an evaluation is important because depressed children may grow up to be depressed adults, unless they are treated.

Copyright © 11/13/2009 Athena Goodlight (Healthmad)

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