Childhood Depression

Depression in childhood, as in adulthood occurs as a function of one of several issues. Depression may stem from a family inherited genetic propensity. It may occur in reaction to the occurrence or anticipated difficult event or it may result as a bi-product of another medical treatment. In any event, depression reduces the amount of information the child is able to take in and process. It saps the child of mental energy and it robs the child of any enthusiasm the child would otherwise have about life. It may involve sleeping a great deal or difficulty sleeping, over eating or loss of appetite. It may also involve lethargy or disruptive behavior. Focus and attention may become difficult for a child that is depressed. It is as a result of these symptoms that child depression is frequently confused with ADHD. The depression may be long and lingering or it may be immobilizing. In either case, it should be addressed through counseling. The depressed child is likely to have a great many feelings about life that they are reluctant to address. They frequently find that their behavior is simply prohibitive and is likely to result in the loss of closeness in relationships. Children, like adults, must fight their way through depression in order to recover. Counseling becomes a critical element in this recovery as encouragement, interpretation of confusing behaviors and ongoing support become critical for not only the child but for the family. At times, medication is useful in a child recovering from depression. As stated above, depression is at times a side effect of other medical issues or treatments. This is particularly true in the treatment of cancer, the occurrence of hypothyroidism and the management of seizure disorder to name a few. The counselor in these situations will work in a consultative fashion with the medical providers as well as with the child and family.