Depression

Definition

Clinical Depression is a serious illness that can affect anybody, including teenagers. It can affect your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and overall health.  Depression may be caused by stressful events, various medicines, or may be linked to family history. It can affect your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and overall health. Many people with depression feel that life is no longer worth living. They may feel hopeless, like there’s “no way out.”  The fact is, depression is not a personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away, but it can be successfully treated.

Characteristics

  • Social withdrawal
  • Does not enjoy activities he/she used to find pleasurable
  • Rapid loss or gain of weight
  • Feel hopeless, worthless, or guilty
  • Changes in sleep
  • Have trouble concentrating, thinking, or making decisions
  • Think about death or suicide frequently

What is normal?

It is normal for a child to be moody or sad from time to time. You can expect these feelings after the death of a pet or a move to a new city. Just because a child seems depressed or sad, does not necessarily mean they have depression, but if these feelings last for weeks or months, they may be a sign of depression. As many as 3 in 100 young children and 9 in 100 teens have serious depression. If symptoms become persistent, disruptive and interfere with social activities, interests, schoolwork and family life, it may indicate that he or she is suffering from the medical condition depression

When you should seek help:

You should seek help if your child:

  • Shows many of the characteristics
  • Social isolation
  • Increased acting out behaviors
  • Increased risk-taking
  • Focus on morbid and negative themes
  • Has suicidal thoughts
  • Giving away possessions 

More Information

http://www.medicinenet.com/depression_in_children/article.htm