Children can and do suffer from depression. Depression in children can be distinguished from the normal fluctuations of childhood development when symptoms persist for more than a few weeks. In children, depression may present as persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness, mood swings, or irritability. Children with depression may act out or lash out, and may show reduced interest in things they once enjoyed. It children, it may be difficult to identify the signs of depression because symptoms can fluctuate. However, parents and caregivers know their children best, and, if concerned, may seek professional consultation and/or an evaluation.
Effective treatment of depression in children involves a thorough intake assessment involving both the child and caregiver(s), and a family-centered treatment protocol aimed at helping children to once again fully engage in their worlds. A treatment plan will likely involve some combination of the following modalities: individual therapy, family therapy, parent guidance, mindfulness training, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), or Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).