How Common Is It?Recent studies show that one out of every 33 children may have depression at any given time. The rate of depression among adolescents is closer to that of depression in adults, and may be as high as one in eight. About one in five children will experience depression before adulthood.
Certain factors may increase the chances of developing childhood depression. For example, if one parent has depression, or the family has a history of depression, the child is at an increased risk of developing childhood depression. In addition, the risk of experiencing subsequent episodes is high, and there is an increased chance that the child will develop other mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) -- see Depression and ADHD in Children.
Types of Depression in ChildrenIn this article, depression refers to clinical depression (also known as major depression or major depressive disorder). There are, however, several types of depression that a person can experience starting in childhood or adolescence. Besides major depression, other types of depression include dysthymia and bipolar disorder.
Dysthymia is a less severe type of depression that can be long-lasting. It can keep a person from functioning well, feeling good, or experiencing joy. Dysthymia often starts during childhood or adolescence.
Bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depression) is the least common type of depression. The disorder can occur anytime from childhood to old age. A person who is bipolar will have cycles of mood changes, alternating between mania (a severe high) and depression (a severe low). Mania affects thinking, judgment, and social behavior in ways that can cause embarrassment and problems.