Depression Home > Childhood Depression

Childhood depression is a serious condition that affects a child's thoughts, feelings, behavior, and body -- and can ultimately lead to school failure, as well as alcohol or other drug use, if left untreated. Symptoms can include low energy, poor concentration, and difficulty making decisions. Diagnosing depression in children involves evaluating the child's emotional maturity, family situation, and age and state of development, among other things. Treatment can include medications and/or psychotherapy.

What Is Childhood Depression?

Although childhood depression has probably affected many generations of children, it is only in the past two decades that this serious condition has been taken very seriously. Childhood depression is a condition that affects a young person's thoughts, feelings, behavior, and body. But it is more than sadness or "the blues." With childhood depression, there are more symptoms, the symptoms are more severe, and they last for a longer period of time.
Depression can happen at any point in a child's life, even when things seem to be going well. Children with depression may have a hard time dealing with everyday activities and responsibilities. The depression may affect the way kids behave at home and at school, how they interact with others, and how they feel about themselves. If left untreated, depression in children can ultimately lead to school failure, alcohol or other drug use, and even suicide.
Depression in children (or adults for that matter) is not a personal weakness; it's a mental health problem. The good news, however, is that childhood depression is treatable, especially when it is diagnosed early.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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