Depression will affect approximately 5% to 10 % of youth. Children and adolescents may gradually slide into a state of depression which often delays detection by parents. Many people attribute signs of depression to a “slump” or a “phase” until matters worsen to a state of severe dysfunction. Adults often mistakenly think of depression as an adult mental state caused by the stress of adult life pressures. Childhood depression is a very real and devastating disease process. Depression can cause children to miss out on large portions of their life experience and precious formative years of development. Many youth will suffer setbacks in academic, social, and emotional maturation which may take considerable time to recover. Some will consider suicide.
Early detection and treatment of depression is imperative. Virtually all children have normal fluctuations of moods and emotion, but they generally bounce back quickly to a state of happiness. Your youth may have depression if you observe any of the following: unusual sustained negative moods, frequent mood swings, changes in typical behavior patterns, lack of interest in pleasurable activities, social withdrawal, changes in sleep patterns or appetite, or other life dysfunctions. Children and adolescents who do not seem to mostly be content and are not thriving academically or socially should not be left to languish.
Some medical disorders can look very similar to primary depression and youth should be evaluated for physical problems such as anemia, thyroid disease, celiac disease, sleep disorders, asthma, etc. Consideration must also be given to relationships, social function, school performance, temperament, anxiety and the child’s generally ability to thrive in their world. Treatment with medication and therapy in addition to addressing underpinnings for compromised resilience to life’s challenges is very effective.
Canyon View Pediatricians are ideally suited to evaluate and treat children and adolescents for depression. Our understanding of disease processes, development, social/emotional challenges and mental illness provides capable perspective to deal with the complexity of this problem. We network with psychologists for cognitive behavioral therapy and Dr. Rod Veas is a clinical and counseling psychologist with whom we frequently corroborate that works on site a Canyon View Pediatrics. Our in house laboratory services make medical diagnostic work up convenient for you.
Please call if you have questions about the possibility of your child or adolescent experiencing depression.