Is Depression in Children Common?

Until fairly recently, most people believed that children do not get depressed.

However, a new study conducted in Canada shows that almost 15% of preschoolers have high levels of anxiety and depression.

Almost 1800 children and mothers took part in this 5 year research study. One of the results found that children who develop anxiety and depression by the fifth month of infancy are most likely to experience lifelong depression.

Preschoolers who have depression are also more likely to develop depression in childhood. In the USA, almost 3% of children and 8% of adolescents develop depression.

Boys are more likely to face depression under the age of ten. Girls experience depression at the age of 16 generally.

Over the past decade, suicide rates in adolescents have increased by more than 200%. In Canada, 1in every 20 children experiences depression before the age of 19.

Causes of Depression in Children

There are two types of depression. Biological depression occurs when there is an imbalance in brain chemistry. Situational depression results from some life event. For example, a sad incident in the family like the death of a parent or parents divorcing could trigger depression. Also, a serious sickness, physical, sexual or mental abuse can produce symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. Sometimes, changes in the home environment could cause depression as well.

Signs of Depression in Children

  • A noticeable change in child’s personality. A happy and funny child could become defiant, weepy, shy, withdrawn etc.
  • Changes in their energy level. Complaining about being bored. Frequent crying for no obvious reason.
  • Changes in their eating and sleeping habits. Over/under eating and over/under sleeping. Waking up frequently during the night.
  • Refusing to go to school and do homework. Losing interest in daily activities and routine.

This information will help you identify whether your child is suffering from Depression. If you suspect this is the case get immediate professional help.

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