Depression Q & A
Why does depression happen in children?
There is no single cause of depression in children. Genetics can play a role, especially if immediate family members like parents suffer from depression. Depression may also be caused by an illness, a period of extreme stress, or the loss of a loved one. There may be situations where the cause of depression cannot be determined.
What are the symptoms of depression?
A depressed child may tend to be tearful or sad regularly. They may also have little to no interest in regular activities. Depressed people often start to withdraw from their friends and family, and may start to spend an increasing amount of time alone. Depressed people often have changes in their sleeping patterns, for example, a child may begin to stay up later and later at night. Sometimes, depressed people sleep much more than they used to. A child who is depressed may have changes in appetite, with a corresponding change in weight. Overall energy levels may dip considerably in a depressed person. Some children who are depressed express feelings of worthlessness. Some depressed children will have suicidal thoughts. Self-destructive behaviors may occur in depressed children, as well.
Will depression improve on its own?
While depression in children can ebb and flow, it will usually not permanently resolve on its own unless treatment is sought. Children who have already had 1 or more depressive episodes are more likely to have further depressive episodes in the future, even if they haven't been depressed recently. Children who suffer from depression are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs as they grow up, often in an attempt to self-medicate, so treatment is very important.
How is depression treated?
At Clear Lake Kids Psychiatry, a personalized approach is taken. Since each child is completely unique, the way that their depression is treated must be unique as well. Many children benefit from a combination approach, one that includes both therapy and medication if needed.