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Although depression is uaually thought of as an "adult" problem, children may also become depressed. Child psychiatrists evaluate and treat children who suffer from severe depression.
Depression is a saddened, energy less state of feeling, which is defined as an illness if it persists over several months. Yet, depression in children is largely unrecognized and misunderstood by parents and professionals, even though an estimated 10 percent of all children in this country suffer from some form of depression before age 12.
Depression in children and teenagers may be manifested in ways somewhat different from depression in adults. Often childhood depression is masked by what appears to be hyperactivity, aggression, feigned illnesses, or frequent absence from school. Although such behavior may be a sign of other illnesses, in cases of depression the child periodically will look sad and may even verbalize depressing thoughts.
What to Look For:
Child Psychiatrists advise parents to look for recurrent signs of depression in their children such as:
Because a depressed child hurts, he or she wants help and responds favorably to treatment. Early diagnosis and medical treatment can manage childhood depression. For help, ask your physician to refer you to a child psychiatrist. As a physician with advanced training in child psychiatry, a child psychiatrist can diagnose and then treat your child's depression.
If you or someone you know is concerned about a child's emotional health, please call for more information.
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