Depression Help
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Depression in Childhood and Adolescence

In recent years, the rates of depression in children and adolescents have nearly doubled. As children, equal number of boys and girls are diagnosed. As they get older, nearly twice as many girls as boys are diagnosed, a figure the mirrors adult figures. Younger children with depression might have phobias, separation anxiety, and trouble sleeping. They may also suffer from hallucinations or delusions. A child who is depressed may look and act sick. They may not be as active as other children. In adolescents and older children, parents and teachers might notice a steep drop in grades, problems with their friends, and getting into trouble at school.

A therapist diagnoses depression in children and adolescence by interviewing both child and parents extensively. The therapist may also want to talk to teachers and other adults the child comes into contact with, and/or to use play therapy with the child. For minor and moderate depression, treatments usually consist of therapy and prescription drugs may or may not be added later depending on how the therapy is progressing. For children with major depression, medication in conjunction with therapy will usually be started immediately.

Once the diagnosis is made and therapy begins, psychiatrists generally have a good success rate with treating depression in children and adolescents. Everyone is relieved to find that their lives slowly go back to normal. Children who have had sleeping problems sleep through the night, grades rebound, and most parents are overjoyed to see their children happy again. The benefits of therapy go far beyond fixing the immediate problems. In therapy, the child will learn coping skills and strategies that she can use for the rest of her life as well as be able to recognize signs and symptoms in case she has more problems with depression later in life, she can get help before she gets into trouble.