Depression is very serious and often goes untreated in children and teens. Symptoms are commonly overlooked or minimized as part of growing up or something that will pass with time.

Child and teen depression has a negative impact on development, school performance, and relationships. Children and adolescents with depression feel sad or hopeless. They might be easily irritated or angry. They lose interest and motivation for the things they once enjoyed. They may feel bad about themselves and lack in confidence. Some complain of stomach problems, headaches, or some other physical discomforts. Sometimes there are changes in eating habits or sleeping patterns. Hopeless and suicidal thoughts can also afflict them.

Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of suicide among youth. Depression in children and teens can be destructive or fatal. Untreated, it can lead to unhealthy and dysfunctional patterns of coping such as withdrawal, isolation, bullying, delinquency, drug use, promiscuity, self-injury, or self-destruction.

Up to 15% of children and adolescents have symptoms of depression at any given time, and 5% meet the criteria for major depressive disorder. Depression can be caused by hormonal changes or chemical imbalances in the brain. Depression may have a genetic component, running in families for generations. It commonly occurs when triggered by stressful life events, such as a major loss or change. Losing someone to death, separation, abandonment, changing schools or homes, divorce, physical or emotional abuse, bullying/teasing, rejection, disabilities and illness are common triggers to depression and its symptoms.

Depression is treatable. Child and teen depression therapy is effective in helping children and adolescents overcome the symptoms of depression. With counseling, children and teens soon learn that their feelings can change. There is hope for their future. Life can and will get better. They discover that there are some things they can do to better cope with their problems. They can talk about their pain, frustration, fears, and anger and feel safe and understood. They learn that they are not alone. Others can understand what they are going through and they truly do care. Getting help for depression early can help prevent future problems and foster healthy growth and development for life.

Copyright © 2009 All Rights Reserved. Krystal Kuehn co-founder of, Counseling services providers of Child and Teen Depression Therapy and Marriage Family Counseling

Author's Bio: 

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a licensed professional counselor, author, teacher, and musician. She is cofounder of New Day Counseling, providers of family therapy, and teen depression counseling and, an award-winning self-help and personal growth site.