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December 22, 2017 | Behavioral Health • Family Medicine
Depression rates in children are on the rise, and it is common for children to be diagnosed with both depression and an anxiety disorder at the same time. In fact, about half of the people who are diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
If you are a parent or caregiver of a child diagnosed with childhood anxiety and/or depression, your role is important. Here’s a quick overview of what to be aware of.
There are two types of depression:
Signs and symptoms of depression in children may include:
Sometimes a child can experience these symptoms for a shorter period of time, and this may be a simple case of “the blues”, but if these symptoms last longer than two weeks or starts to interfere with their day-to-day, your child may have a depressive disorder.
Is My Child at Risk for Depression?
There are certain children who are at a greater risk of depression:
Depression is also a risk factor for suicide. About 80 percent of kids who have an anxiety disorder, and 60 percent who have depression, are not being treated. If you notice symptoms of depression in your child, it’s important to seek help.
Some factors decrease a child’s likelihood of developing depression, including:
Many children require professional guidance to manage and overcome anxiety and depression. No singular treatment works best for every child, and some may respond better to certain types of treatment than others. Here are the primary treatment options available:
•Medication: Often used in conjunction with therapy, medications can be helpful for treating depression. A study revealed that a combination of CBT and antidepressants worked better than either treatment on its own. A recent study indicates that many antidepressants are ineffective, and some may be unsafe for children and teenagers with major depression. Other medications like tricyclic antidepressants and benzodiazepines are used less often to treat children. All medications, including SSRIs, may come with side effects that your family doctor will discuss with you.
There are several things you can do to help your child manage his or her depression at home:
Remember that having a child with anxiety or depression does not mean you’re a bad parent, though they may add stress to your family life. A support network of family and friends can be very helpful for many parents in these situations.
If you think your child is dealing with a depressive or anxiety disorder, speak to your doctor about your options.
“Anxiety and Depression in Children.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America. https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/children/anxiety-and-depression
“Behavioral Treatment for Kids With Anxiety.” Child Mind Institute. https://childmind.org/article/behavioral-treatment-kids-anxiety/
“Depression in Children and Young People: Identification and Management in Primary, Community and Secondary Care.” National Center for Biotechnology Information.
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.