There has been much press on depression in adults in the media over the last few years but not much has been said about depression in youth. Many parents pass off depression as signs of adolescence and growing older but children are just as susceptible to depression as adults are.


There are many reasons for children being depressed in the modern age. Family arguments and breakups are but one of the factors that can lead to a child suffering from depression. Other factors include:

    Being bullied at school
    Exam stress
    Moving to a new location


Many children will show sadness and low moods but it is when these become a normal part of life and not an occasional mood swing that this can point toward depression. There are signs that a parent can look for to determine if their child is depressed. These signs include:

  • Withdrawal from friend and family
  • Irritability and anger
  • Crying for no apparent reasons
  • Lack of concentration
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in appetite
  • Decrease in energy levels

If a parent notices their child going through any of these symptoms for two weeks or more, then a visit to the doctor is necessary so other illnesses and factors can be ruled out before a diagnosis of depression is given.


There are many different types of depression and treatment will be given depending on the needs of the individual. There are two main types of treatment that is available for depression and psychotherapy is often the first that is offered. Medication is not always offered but sometimes a little extra help is needed to treat childhood depression.

Psychotherapy consists of treating both the symptoms and the cause. This can take the form of therapies such as:

  • Counselling
  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
  • Family counselling

Medication for depression is normally given in the form of anti-depressants. A common anti-depressant prescribed for children is Prozac but this can only be given to children over the age of 8. Medication of this sort is normally offered only when psychotherapy is not working.


Once the signs of depression in a child has been recognised, then treatment is available and it is possible for a child to be able to recover. It is normal for a child to suffer from depression and the majority of doctors recognise there are times when a child needs to be treated.

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