Also known as: clinical depression, major depressive disorder, major depression.
What is depression?
Depression is a common (2% of preschool and school age children; higher in adolescents) clinical condition that affects a child/adolescents mood and mental health, for more than two weeks, severe enough to interfere with everyday living.
What causes depression?
There does not appear to be a specific cause in children; depression seems to be the result of a number of risk factors; biological (girls more often than boys, born preterm, having a mother younger than 18yrs. of age etc.), psychological (low esteem, negative body image, very self-critical, anxious etc.), genetic (having a depressed parent increases risk by about 4 times normal) and environmental (reaction to stress like physical/verbal/sexual abuse, loss of a parent/close family member, bullying, illness, poverty, or medications etc.) all may be contributors. Depression may also be associated with other mental health disorders (e.g. attention deficit hyperactivity disorder-ADHD).
What are the symptoms of depression?
Major depression is more than sadness lasting a few days; symptoms must interfere with daily functioning and last for weeks/months or years (if untreated). Diagnostic symptoms include some or all of; significant sadness, poor appetite with weight loss (or gaining a lot of weight), change in sleep pattern (trouble sleeping or sleeping too much), agitation, fatigue, feeling worthless, loss of energy and thoughts of suicide or death. Children may also present with irritability, deteriorating school performance, boredom, physical symptoms like abdominal pain or recurrent headaches, and risk taking destructive and acting out behaviors etc.
What are depression care options?
Lifestyle changes, stress management, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, complementary treatments and if severe enough, medications are all of value.
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP
This page was last updated on: 6/15/2018 7:57:33 AM
Weekly Support Programs
This group therapy program is designed for children ages 7 to 17 with behaviorial issues, including but not limited to ADHD. This support group meets on Wednesdays. Learn more.
Calm Kids is a weekly group therapy course designed to teach children strategies on how to take control over anxiety symptoms. Children will learn how to cope with fears and worries, identify anxiety triggers, how to relax the mind and body and maximize their self-confidence. This group meets on Tuesdays. Learn more.
This eight-week program is specifically designed to empower children ages 7 to 18 through complex sensory experiences. Learn more.
This six-week program is designed for teens ages 13 to 16 experiencing difficulties related to sleep, including daytime sleepiness, trouble waking in the morning, difficulty falling asleep and waking in the middle of the night. Learn more.
Children and teens ages 7 to 17 are invited to join this small discussion group to learn how to make, cultivate and maintain friendships. Participants will learn basic conversational skills, and discuss the use of appropriate humor, how to electronically connect with others, and how to manage disagreements. Learn more.
From the Newsdesk
The summertime is here! Are you worried about how you will keep your teenager, who may be too old for camp but too young to work, on a routine during the summer? Join us for a live interview with Pyschology interns Michelle Brenes and Brittney Falluca as they discuss tips to keep teens engaged in activity, especially during the summer break.
The Nicklaus Children’s Heart Program is now a member of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative (CNOC).