Learn about the disease, illness and/or condition Kids, Depression (Depression in Children) including: symptoms, causes, treatments, contraindications and conditions at ClusterMed.info.
Kids, Depression (Depression in Children)
|Kids, Depression (Depression in Children)|
Kids, Depression (Depression in Children) Information
Depression in children facts
How do health care professionals diagnose depression in children? What health care specialists diagnose and treat childhood depression?
Many health care providers can help determine if the diagnosis of clinical depression is appropriate in children, including licensed mental health counselors, pediatricians, other primary care providers, specialists seen for a medical problem, emergency room doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and social workers. Due to the societal stigma that can be associated with receiving mental health treatment, pediatricians and other primary care doctors are often the first professionals approached for diagnosis and treatment of depression. The practitioner that is consulted to assess a child for depression will likely perform or refer for a thorough medical interview and physical examination as part of assigning the correct diagnosis. Depression is associated with a number of other mental health conditions, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism-spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety disorders, so the evaluator will likely screen for signs and symptoms of manic depression (bipolar disorder), a history of trauma, and other mental-health symptoms. Childhood depression also may be associated with a number of medical problems, or it can be a side effect of various medications, exposure to drugs of abuse or other toxins. Therefore, routine laboratory tests are often done during the initial assessment to rule out other causes of symptoms. Sometimes, an X-ray, scan, or other imaging study may be needed. As part of the evaluation, the sufferer may be asked a series of questions from a standardized questionnaire or self-test to help determine the risk of depression and suicide.
Is it possible to prevent depression in children?
For children, from infancy through the teenage years, strong, healthy attachment between the child and parent can help protect the child from developing depression. Parental behaviors that tend to foster health attachment with their children involve consistent love and care, as well as attentive responsiveness to the child's needs, including age-appropriate steps toward the child's gradual independence.Preventing depression in childhood tends to involve addressing risk factors, both specific and nonspecific, strengthening other protective factors, and using an appropriate approach for the child's developmental level. Such programs often use cognitive behavioral and/or interpersonal approaches, as well as family based prevention strategies because research shows that these interventions are the most effective.Protective factors for adolescent depression include involving supportive adults, strong family and peer relationships, healthy coping skills, and emotional regulation. Children of a depressed parent tend to be more resilient when the child is more able to focus on age-appropriate tasks in their lives and on their relationships, as well as being able to understand their parents' condition. For depressed parents, their children seem to be less likely to develop the disorder when the parent is able to demonstrate a commitment to parenting and to relationships.
What are causes and risk factors for depression in children?
Depression in children does not have one specific cause. Rather, people with this illness tend to have a number of biological, psychological, and environmental contributors to its development. Biologically, depression is associated with a deficient level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, a smaller size of some areas of the brain and increased activity in other parts of the brain. Girls are more likely to be given the diagnosis of depression than boys, but that is thought to be due to, among other things, biological differences based on gender, and differences in how girls are encouraged to interpret their experiences and respond to it as opposed to boys. There is thought to be at least a partially genetic component to the pattern of children, and teens with a depressed parent are as much as four times more likely to also develop the disorder. Children who have depression or anxiety are more prone to have other biological problems, like low birth weight, trouble sleeping, and to having a mother younger than 18 years old at the time of their birth.Psychological contributors to depression include low self-esteem, negative body image, being excessively self-critical, and often feeling helpless when dealing with negative events. Children who suffer from conduct disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), clinical anxiety, or who have cognitive or learning problems, as well as trouble engaging in social activities also are have more risk of developing depression.Depression may be a reaction to life stresses, like trauma, including verbal, physical, or sexual abuse; the death of a loved one; school problems; being bullied; or suffering from peer pressure. Youth who are struggling to adapt to the United States culture have found to be at higher risk for developing depression. Research differs as to whether children who are obese have an increased risk of developing depression.Other contributors to this condition include poverty and financial difficulties in general, exposure to violence, social isolation, parental conflict, divorce, and other causes of disruptions to family life. Children who have limited physical activity, poor school performance, or lose a relationship are at higher risk for developing depression, as well.
What are complications of depression in children?
Depression during childhood puts sufferers at risk for developing a number of other mental-health issues. Children with depression are also more likely to have poor academic performance and to engage in alcohol and other drug abuse. As adults, people who had depression during childhood and adolescence are at risk for having trouble maintaining employment, as well as family and other social disruptions during adulthood.
What are the symptoms and warning signs of depression in children?
Clinical depression, also called major depression, is more than sadness that lasts for a day or two. In true depressive illnesses, the symptoms last weeks, months, or sometimes years if not treated. Depression often results in the sufferer being unable to perform daily activities, such as getting out of bed or getting dressed, performing well at school, or playing with peers. General symptoms of major depression, regardless of age, include having a depressed mood or irritability or difficulty experiencing pleasure for at least two weeks and having at least five of the following signs and symptoms:
What are the types of depression in children?
Children may suffer from the episodes of moderate to severe depression associated with major depressive disorder, or more chronic, mild to moderate low mood of dysthymia. Depression may also be part of other mood disorders like bipolar disorder, as a result of psychosis (for example, having symptoms of delusions or hallucinations), as part of a medical condition like hypothyroidism, or the result of exposure to certain medications such as cold medications or drug abuse, like cocaine withdrawal.
What is childhood depression?
Clinically significant depression can be generally understood as being severe enough to interfere with one's ability to function. It is quite common at every age, affecting more than 16% of children in the United States at some time in their lives and thought to be increasing in children and adolescents, both in this country and elsewhere. Other statistics about depression include its tendency to occur at a rate of about 2% prior to the teenage years and at approximately 5%-8% when both adolescents and children younger than adolescence are considered. It is a leading cause of health impairment (morbidity) and death (mortality). About 3,000 adolescents and young adults die by suicide each year in the United States, making it the third leading cause of death in people 10-24 years of age.
What is the prognosis for depression in children?
Depression can be chronic, in that 85% of people who have one episode of the disorder will have another one within 15 years of the first episode. Depressed individuals who have been exposed to trauma are less likely to respond to treatment with antidepressant medication than those who have not experienced trauma. Young people with depression are more likely to develop severe mental illness during adulthood compared to children who do not suffer from depression. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States for people over 5 years of age, particularly for females. Childhood depression is a risk factor for a number of potentially negative outcomes, like academic and interpersonal problems, as well as issues with drugs and attempting suicide.
What is the treatment for depression in children?
If it is determined that your child is suffering from clinical depression, the health-care professional likely will recommend treatment. Treatment may include alleviating any medical condition that causes or worsens depression. For example, a person who is found to have low levels of thyroid hormone might receive hormone replacement with levothyroxine (Synthroid). Other aspects of treatment may include supportive therapy, like lifestyle and behavioral changes, psychotherapy, complementary treatments, and possibly medication for moderate to severe depression. If symptoms are severe enough that treatment with medication is appropriate, symptoms tend to improve faster and for a longer period of time when medication is combined with psychotherapy.Most mental-health professionals will continue treatment of major depression for six months to a year to prevent a reoccurrence of symptoms. Treatment for children with depression can have a significantly positive effect on the child's functioning with peers, family members, and at school. Without treatment, symptoms tend to last much longer, may not improve, or may worsen. With treatment, the chances of recovery are significantly improved.PsychotherapyPsychotherapy ("talk therapy") is a kind of mental-health counseling that entails working with a trained therapist to figure out ways to solve problems and cope with depression. It can be a powerfully effective intervention, even resulting in positive biochemical changes in the brain. For babies, music therapy and infant massage have been found to be useful interventions. Two major kinds of psychotherapy are commonly used to treat childhood depression: interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. In general, these forms of treatment take weeks to months to complete and has a goal of alleviating depressive symptoms. More intensive psychotherapy may be needed for a longer period of time when treating very severe depression or for depression that is accompanied by other psychiatric symptoms.Interpersonal therapy (IPT): This form of psychotherapy seeks to alleviate depressive symptoms by helping child with depression develop more effective skills for coping with their emotions and relationships. IPT uses two strategies to achieve those goals:
What should parents do if they suspect that their child is depressed?
Family members and friends are advised to seek mental-health assessment and treatment for the depressed child. Adult family members may confer with the child's primary-care doctor or seek mental-health services by contacting one of the resources indicated below. Once the child with depression is receiving treatment, family members can promote good mental health by gently encouraging him or her to have a healthy lifestyle, including encouraging the child to maintain a healthy diet, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, remain socially active, and to engage in healthy stress-management activities. Parents and other loved ones can also be helpful to the depressed child by discouraging him or her from engaging in risky behaviors.
Where can families get information and support for childhood depression?
American Association of Suicidologyhttp://www.suicidology.org202-237-2280American Foundation for Suicide Preventionhttp://www.afsp.orgJason Foundationhttp://www.jasonfoundation.comNational Alliance for the Mentally Ill2101 Wilson Boulevard Suite 302Arlington, VA 22201HelpLine: 800-950-NAMI (6264)http://www.nami.org/National Suicide Prevention Hotline800-SUICIDE (784-2433)http://www.suicide.orgNational Suicide Prevention Lifeline800-273-TALK (8255)Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)http://www.samhsa.govYellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Programhttp://www.yellowribbon.org/
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