Outcome of Childhood Depression
The outcome of childhood depression will vary depending on a number of factors. For example, some children or adolescents with depression may develop bipolar disorder later in life, while others may be at risk of suicide later on. Also, most children and adolescents who experience depression have a recurrence at some point. Twenty to 40 percent of children with depression relapse within two years.
An Overview of Childhood Depression OutcomesDepression is more than the blues or the blahs; it is more than the normal, everyday ups and downs. When that "down" mood -- along with other depression symptoms -- lasts for more than a couple of weeks, the condition may be clinical depression (also known as major depression). Clinical depression is a serious health problem that affects the total person. In addition to feelings, it can change behavior, physical health and appearance, academic performance, social activity, and the ability to handle everyday decisions and pressures.
The good news is that, just like depression in adults, childhood depression can be treated. Most children and adolescents can be helped with psychotherapy, medicine, or both.
Short-term psychotherapy involves talking about feelings with a trained professional who can help you change the relationships, thoughts, or behaviors that contribute to depression (see Psychotherapy for Depression).
There are currently depression medications (antidepressants) that effectively treat severe or disabling depression. Antidepressant medications are not "uppers" and are not addictive. Sometimes, several types of antidepressants may have to be tried before you and your doctor find the one that works best (see Antidepressants in Children).
Treatment can help most depressed children and adolescents start to feel better in just a few weeks. However, many people wonder about the long-term effects of childhood depression. They might ask questions like, "Will it come back" or, "Are there any other conditions that childhood depression increases the risk of?"