According to researchers rates of depression in the very young are on the rise, with studies suggesting it’s prevalent in one percent of babies, four percent of preschool-aged kids and around five percent of elementary school students. The rate doubles when children hit adolescence, with these teens meeting the criteria for major depression.
Suicide – One Of The Leading Causes Of Death In Young People?
It’s seems unfathomable, but suicide is the sixth-leading cause of death in children age five to 14. Suicide in teens and young adults up to age 24 is all too common and is the third leading cause of death. Suicide is most often associated with depression, which is why the rising number of cases of depression in babies is alarming. Researchers say that diagnosing the problem and providing treatment could be a potential lifesaver.
The medical community previously believed that babies and young children weren’t cognitively or physically mature enough to have depression. But within the last couple of decades more scientists have gravitated to the belief that babies actually can develop depression or are born with it.
History Of Depression
The history of depression goes back thousands of years. Ancient Greeks noted a condition they called melancholia, which was typified in adults who seemed cold and without feeling. Hippocrates’ listing of the symptoms of melancholia hold true to modern-day depression: being fearful, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, irritability and despondency. The ancient Greeks only noted these symptoms in adults, and modern researchers began to recognize the symptoms in children.
By the 1900s scientists began studying mood disorders in children more vigorously. Neurobiology has helped advance the field as scientists started more evidence-based research related to depression in children. Today’s medical experts accept that children can experience severe negative thoughts, display drastic mood swings and classic signs of depression.
Symptoms Of Depression In Young Children
Depression can be more difficult to detect in children compared to adults because they aren’t as cognitively or verbally advanced.
Children are more likely to show symptoms of depression like:
- Extreme guilt
- Body aches and pains
Some children will show a joyless expression, gazing off in the distance while being unresponsive.
Helping Children With Depression
Talking about depression does not make matters worse. To the contrary, around 80 percent of children who receive treatment are successful in relieving depressive feelings. Simply talking about the symptoms has proven to relieve the tension associated with depression.
Children need to be encouraged and supported through their depression. They need to know they aren’t alone and that they really are cared for.