Teenage Depression

Teenage depression is a serious mental illness that affects millions of teenagers in the United States each year. Unfortunately only a small portions of teens with depression ever get professional help for their struggles with teenage depression. As teens grow and develop, the emotional changes they undergo can become a struggle.

Often times these emotional changes, whether hormonal or influenced by life occurrences, or both are to blame, it can turn quickly into a severe problem like teenage depression. Dealing with these struggles, ups and downs, and challenges as a teen can be scary and difficult. It often requires professional therapy and possible antidepressant medications to help teens cope with such trying times. While all teens experience their fair share of emotional turmoil, teenage depression can take a dangerous turn when it continues for weeks on end without the teen being able to figure out a way to cope. Their grades might suffer along with the friendships, relationships, extra curricular activities and other responsibilities. That is why it is important for parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of teenage depression so they can help get their teen professional help before they do something as drastic as suicide or self-mutilation. Keep reading to learn the signs of teenage depression.

Teenage Depression Signs and Symptoms:

Teens who have depression will often show signs of becoming withdrawn, easily agitated, rebellious and altogether unhappy for long periods on end. It can be difficult for teens to do well in school. They might sleep excessively or struggle with insomnia. They might experience episodes of anxiety or prolonged sadness. Other signs of teenage depression include a teen’s inability to maintain healthy friendships with friends and family members. They might start hanging out with a different crowd that has a rebellious or troublesome reputation. They might even begin engaging in some of the activities like underage drinking, smoking and doing drugs as a method to escape from the sadness they feel but can’t understand or cope with on a regular basis.

Teenage depression might bring out acts of anger or aggression in your teen, They might start skipping school or sleeping class and refusing to turn in their homework or study for tests. They don’t have a bright outlook on their future and no longer find enjoyment in activities they once did like playing games, sports or other hobbies. They also might show signs of severe weight loss or weight gain as well. The difference between a moody teenager and a depressed teenager is that those with teenage depression will act this way for weeks on end and for prolonged periods of time, which is called a depression episode.

Because teens go through so many changes both physically and emotionally it can be tough for them to cope. If there are big changes happening at home like parents getting divorced or death of a loved one a teen is going to be more likely to suffer from teenage depression. Some teens that deal with issues regarding their sexuality or bullying at school might find themselves more likely to be depressed. Some teens might struggle with learning or paying attention in school, which can cause their grades to drop and for them to see negative repercussions that might lead to depression. There are so many factors and incidents that can cause teenage depression. Some teens simply have the ability to cope with these struggles better than others. Teens with low self-esteem might find it more difficult for them to cope with these issues and will experience overwhelming depression as a result. Unfortunately many teens resort to burning or cutting themselves, or even develop an eating disorder as a way to cope. They might even decide their life isn’t worth living and will resort to suicide. To prevent these tragic endings for such young individuals it is important for parents to watch their teen’s behavior. If the teen has been showing signs of teenage depression, it is time to get them professional help.

Treatment for Teenage Depression:

Fortunately because teen depression is a fairly common occurrence there are plenty of trained professional therapists and psychologists that can help the teens learn to cope with the negative in their lives so the depression can no longer be this overwhelming presence in their life, Weekly therapy sessions are a good place to start for many depressed teens. Some teens might find out they need more help in coping with their emotions and will need to be placed on an antidepressant medication to help them heal. Either way, there are steps parents can take to effectively help their depressed teen resume a normal life to continue growing into an adult with a bright and successful future.

Somatic or Physical Symptoms of Depression

Somatic or physical symptoms of depression are often associated in some capacity in cases of persons suffering from depression. Every person is different feels the pain from depression differently. Somatic or physical symptoms of depression are common in many cases of this mental illness.

The mind is a powerful tool, and just because depression is a mental illness, that does not mean that the disease does not manifest physically as well. Depression often leads to these somatic or physical symptoms of depression. In fact, in addition to prolonged periods of sadness and hopelessness, some of the physical symptoms like weight loss/gain and fatigue are among some of the most common depression symptoms. Researchers say the reason for somatic or physical symptoms of depression are caused also in a person’s appetite. Sleep is also another huge physical factor that can be affected by depression. Because the mind has so much control over the way a person’s body feels, reacts and heals from injury, core symptoms of the mental illness often manifest in bodily symptoms.

Other Somatic/Physical Symptoms of Depression:

Because the mental drain that occurs during depression can easily cause a disruption in sleep, nearly 80 percent of those suffering from depression have symptoms of insomnia. Another 15 percent of depressed individuals go the other way and have troubles with sleeping excessively. Because of these struggles, many patients suffering from depression complain to their doctor or mental health care provider that they have body fatigue. Sleep is often found to be a cure for many ailments, allowing the body to heal in an undisturbed state. However, when a depressed person is not getting enough sleep, those other physical symptoms are likely to prolong in the body and perhaps worsen over time. Energy loss makes the depressed person unable to function properly both physically and mentally and can often lead to the severity of psychomotor retardation.

Eating a healthy diet is an essential part of living life smoothly and happily. However, when a person is suffering from depression, they are more likely to have issues with maintaining a healthy appetite. Those with depression are also at risk for developing problems with eating disorders like Anorexia Nervosa or Binge eating.

There are other somatic or physical symptoms of depression that can manifest in an actual physical form but have no direct cause. Some patients with depression have problems with regular headaches or migraines as well as back aches, neck pain and joint aches. Usually these types of physical symptoms take the form of multiple somatic complaints among the majority of the severely depressed. However, this is not to say that the pain isn’t real or is all in the person’s head. The pain is real, but is difficult to identify the source unless the person has been already diagnosed with depression. If depression has not been considered as a possible source of the pain, many individuals will seek the help of a general practitioner before they know what is actually wrong. The GP is then trained to look for a physical cause for the pain, not a mental reason. However, that is why it is important to examine these aches and pains along with other symptoms like moodiness, irritability, a feeling of hopelessness, low self-esteem, prolonged feelings of sadness and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Depression Treatment:

Once these symptoms, both mental and physical, have persisted for at least two weeks, it is a good idea to consult a professional for help. There are many mental health professionals that are able to diagnose if the pains might be related to the depression. Treatment is important to get as early as possible to help the depressed individual move toward a successful recovery from the mental illness. If the physical symptoms are related to the depression, these symptoms should lessen as the treatment for depression increases. The physical symptoms can also be treated, which might help with the overall progress toward recovery from the emotional turmoil of depression. Antidepressants are one of the treatment options in addition to psychotherapy. To determine which treatment is best, it is a good idea to consult with a doctor or other mental health care professional. The use of the antidepressants to regulate the hormones like serotonin in the brain will help provide relief for the somatic or physical symptoms of depression.

Sources: psychologytoday.com, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Episodes of Depression

Episodes of depression can be devastating for anyone suffering from depression while trying to maintain a normal life. Episodes of depression occur when a cluster of depression symptoms take over a person’s life. These episodes can be immobilizing and difficult to overcome.

The episodes of depression occur mostly when a person suffers from major depressive disorder. This disorder is also known as major depression or clinical depression. The severity of these episodes of depression range depending on the person and how they are able to cope with these severe depression symptoms including overwhelming sadness, fatigue, anger, frustration, insomnia, body aches, withdrawal and thoughts of suicide.  Getting treatment the earlier the better is the best way to deal with these episodes of depression.

There are some signs that are pretty universal when it comes to depression, although some are better than others at being able to cope with these issues. Women are more likely than men to encounter these regular episodes of depression. They are most common in the age range of 25 to 44 years old. Some people might be able to go years without having these episodes of depression, while others will have them more often. Being able to cope with these episodes can be difficult and often requires professional help before they get better. To become properly diagnosed with major depressive disorder, the symptoms must fall into a variety of categories with specific symptoms. One of the biggest signs that someone has major depressive disorder requires that the person must experience these symptoms over a two-week period. They must experience at least five of the symptoms listed below and be considered not of typical day-to-day behavior. Depressed mood of decreased interested must at least be one of the five symptoms:

Depressed Mood:

This criteria includes feeling depressed for the better part of just about every day. Many patients have reported feeling hopeless, sad, empty, etc. Even if the patient seems to be in denial about their symptoms, many of these patients still appear to be on the verge of tears, does not appear to be excited about activities they used to like. For example, they may not find joy in participating in family activities, spending time with their spouse or children. They also might report physical pains as a result of these depressed moods like headaches and body aches. This can also be a reverse situations because many patients that are dealing with a severe illness or injury might become depressed as a result of the injury instead of vice versa.

Loss of Interest:

As previously mentioned with mood, the person simply does not want to do things they used to enjoy. They might be found sleeping or laying there with little activity rather than watching a fun movie, hanging out with friends or enjoying family time.


Feeling tired regardless of how much sleep you’ve gotten can be an indicator of major depressive disorder or an episode of depression.

Self-Worth and Self-Esteem

Those with low self-esteem or don’t see the value or worth of their life are a strong candidate for depression. They might even be caught self-harming through means of cutting, burning or an eating disorder.

Motor Activity

Inactivity or not wanting to even move from the bed of the couch due to a lack of energy is a strong indication of problems with depression.


Sleeping for 12 to 14 hours or not being able to sleep at all are very strong symptoms of depression.


Those going through symptoms of depression or an episode might have troubles concentrating at work, school, at home, even on menial tasks like doing the laundry or the dishes.

Thoughts of Suicide or Death:

If you or someone you know is dealing with major depressive disorder, you need to get help as soon as possible or recommend help to your loved one that might be suffering from this disorder. Professional help including therapy as well as the possibility of antidepressant medications to help overcome the symptoms that at times can seem entirely overwhelming. The best way to treat these episodes of depression is to get help early and continue to see help when you feel an episode coming on.

Sources: wikipedia.com, allaboutdepression.com

Am I Depressed?

Am I depressed? If you are consistently sad for no reason, or often find yourself faced with more than you can handle emotionally for long periods and weeks on end, there is a good chance you might be depressed. For more, read on to learn: Am I depressed?

Just about every individual goes through a time of sadness in their life. For some, these occasions happen more than for others. Ultimately it depends on the situation and the individual at hand and how well they are able to cope with the sadness and unhappiness they are facing. However, for some the times of sadness and despair become more and more frequent and harder to shake. This is typically an indication the individual might be suffering from depression. Anyone can experience a bought of depression here and there, but prolonged sadness and feelings of loneliness and just general unhappiness about life can often become a debilitating mental illness that can cause problems with a person’s work, family, relationships and overall health.

Am I Depressed?

To determine whether or not if you are depressed and need to seek professional help or treatment, it is a good idea to do a little self-reflecting and look at the following questions to help determine if you truly are suffering from depression. These are some of the most common depression symptoms. If you find that you are experiencing any of these for a few weeks or more, it is likely you are suffering from depression.

  • Difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping excessively
  • Feeling down, hopeless, or depressed for the majority of the day
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Increased anxiety or irritability
  • Increased fatigue or loss of energy
  • Lacking interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
  • Pain anywhere on the body that cannot be explained by illness or injury
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Decreased or increased appetite
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, suicide or inflicting bodily harm upon yourself

If you find that you are experiencing any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time – longer than a few weeks – there is a good chance  you might be suffering from depression. Unfortunately only about 20 percent of those with severe depression ever seek treatment this might be a big part of the reason suicide is one the highest causes of death among adults in the United States. Not seeking help for  your depression is not just likely to lead to self-mutilation, eating disorders and cases of suicide, but it can also impact the lives of those around you. Those with depression find it difficult to perform well at their jobs and might find their job in jeopardy as a result. Those with depression might also lack in their effort to connect with friends and family members, which can in turn hurt those people and those relationships.

Other negative side effects of not seeking treatment for your depression include suffering from pain and other illnesses that can worsen as the depression worsens or might even lead to cases of drug or alcohol dependency as the depressed individual tries to self-medicate, but actually makes the mental illness worse.

Treatment For Depression:

If you are someone wondering, am I depressed? It is a good time to get help if you are able to determine your sadness is more than just a case of the blues. There are a couple of different ways you can go about getting treatment if you do find you are suffering from depression,. To start, it is a good idea to meet for therapy with a therapist or psychologist that is trained to help those suffering from depression. These regular treatment sessions are helpful in assessing the underlying emotional issues that could be causing this problem. Other depression treatments include antidepressants. Not all antidepressants are for everyone with depression, so it is important to consult with your doctor to effectively treat depression.

Sources: webmd.com

Depression in Girls

According to new studies, depression in girls is found to be more rampant than depression in boys. New statistics reveal that depression in girls is twice the rate compared with boys. There are a variety of reasons for increased depression in girls and these reasons are starting earlier and earlier in development.

Unfortunately there are a few reasons that girls tend to have higher rates of depression, and these causes of depression are occurring in girls at an increasingly younger age. Based on a study from 5,596 high school students, about 9 percent suffer from either severe or mile depression. Similar studies of youth also reflect the same idea that youth of all ages are more prone to depression if they are a female. While depression early on in life is common, it often goes unnoticed. Many parents attribute these signs and symptoms of depression to typical behavior on the part of their child. Many girls and even boys with depression will exhibit signs of sadness or emotional ups and downs. Parents might think this is normal, but in some cases, the sadness and emotional turmoil is really considered to be a mild to severe case of depression.

Reasons for Depression in Girls:

There are several reasons why girls are more prone to getting depression than compared with boys of their same age. According to recent studies, girls around prepubescent ages are more likely to become depressed simply because they are more worried about their appearance. Girls undergo more physical changes than boys do and they struggle to emotionally adapt to these changes. Many girls become depressed because they define their self-worth by how they look. If they are not happy with the recent changes physically in their life, they are more likely to become depressed.

Another reason that can be attributed to causing depression in girls is the bullying or Mean Girl Effect. Many girls often turn on each other with taunts, teasing, hurtful words, etc. This is a form of bullying that can take place early on even among younger girls. These girls use negative and mean comments toward one another to help build up their own self-confidence. However, tearing one another down is just another reason depression in girls is becoming so rampant.

Other causes for depression in girls is a bit more simple and common place among anyone dealing with depression issues. Kids with parents going through a divorce, or the loss of a parent or loved one can be devastating for a child. They find they are unable to emotionally cope with the significant changes in their life and depression takes over. Many parents feel their girls or younger children will be able to bounce back easily from these negative occurrences, but that is not always the case. In many instances adults that are depressed or suffer from depression issues often find they have had problems with depression since childhood. Because of this negative trend carrying on throughout life, steps must be taken with these depressed girls and boys at an early age to help them grow up to become a happy and successful adult.

Warning Signs for Depression:

To take those early steps for treatment it is first to watch for the warning signs of depression early on to determine if your child is just going through a difficult patch or if they are truly depressed. In many cases with depression in girls, the self-esteem of the young girl or teen is the first to suffer. When young girls and teens first start talking about how they hate certain things about themselves, this is an early sign that their self-esteem is not where it should be. Low self-esteem is one of the biggest factors in the onset of depression. Other warning signs are of young girls acting out or rebellious. They might begin experimenting with drinking, drugs and promiscuity. Studies have reported that early instances of sexual experiences in young girls or teens is often a direct cause for low self-esteem and depression. Girls that are depressed will also show signs of withdrawing from activities they used to enjoy, apathy, poor academic performance, difficulty sleeping as well as struggles to act or behave happy.

Treatment for Depression in Girls:

Because early treatment is the best way to prevent the depression symptoms from worsening, it is important for parents to watch out for these depression warning signs in their young girls and teens. If they do suspect a problem that exceeds regular emotional struggles that everyone faces, it is important to get their child into some sort of therapy where they can meet with a trained child psychologist. Antidepressant medications are not prescribed as commonly with children and teens as compared with adults because some depression medications and antidepressants can have the opposite reaction in youth. It is important to consult  your options with a mental health care provider to determine your options for your child.

Sources: webmd.com, nytimes.com

What is Psychomotor Retardation?

What is psychomotor retardation? Psychomotor retardation occurs when an individual shows visible signs of a slowing down of the thought process as well as psychical movement. Psychomotor retardation is typically seen in cases of major depression in the individual.

Psychomotor retardation occurs most often in adults that are suffering from severe depression. Many of those who are also affected with bipolar disorder also might be faced with psychomotor retardation. This type of retardation is caused by a purely mental issue suffered from the depression or manic depression. The effects include the slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movements in an individual that is affected by the mental illness. There is usually a physical sign that it takes the individual longer to comprehend and process what is going on around them. They might respond much slower than is normal to a question or will fail to volunteer information unless asked. Certain drugs can also cause psychomotor retardation. Those with the most severe stages of psychomotor retardation will often require nursing care, or one-on-one assistance because they may no longer be capable of feeding, clothing or bathing themselves. However, informed consent for this type of treatment is often more difficult to achieve in the presence of this condition.

Examples of Psychomotor Retardation:

The beginning signs of psychomotor retardation start out with many of the same symptoms that can be attributed to depression. For example, those individuals with depression that have difficulty concentrating, completing tasks, finishing work projects, etc. Many of those with trouble of carrying out automatic or daily tasks are those showing the first signs of examples of psychomotor retardation. An example of this is when the individual won’t even take part in traditional daily activities like self-grooming, brushing teeth, getting dressed, doing dishes, cooking, etc. Those who are in the early stages might start having a difficult time walking up the stairs, preparing meals or even getting out of bed. Other examples of psychomotor retardation are when it can be hard or difficult to do more complex physical tasks like shopping, carrying groceries, taking care of children, doing work-related tasks, answering phones, shopping, etc. These activities, especially mental ones like paying bills, etc. are too difficult.

Psychomotor retardation is also common in cases of schizophrenia and is related to severe ends of the spectrum for those who suffer from this mental illness. Many with schizophrenia will show signs of psychomotor retardation and lifelessness one minute and then will experience symptoms of psychomotor agitation the next showing signs of energy and high activity.

Psychomotor Retardation Treatment:

In addition to the nursing or one-on-one care, the patients who have been diagnosed with psychomotor retardation are in need of intense treatment and therapy in order to achieve a successful recovery. Unfortunately in some cases even a full recovery is not possible. While some who are severely depressed take an active approach to end their lives through suicidal means, others will simply stop living and the psychomotor retardation will take over until the point that their body might even shut down on its own if they are left untreated. Many treatment options include continuous therapy for depression. However, this is not always going to work. At some points, the effects of the psychomotor retardation get to the point where the individual becomes completely unresponsive and will not even respond to questions asked during a therapy session. Instead some medications might also be used toward the treatment of someone with psychomotor retardation.

Many recent studies have shown that medications with dopamine increasing in the effected person are effective forms of treatment. There are some antidepressants that will raise the brain’s overall dopamine levels and will help bring that person back from the effects of the psychomotor retardation. The difficult part of this type of treatment is that unless care of the individual has legally been given to a loved one or friend, it can be difficult to treat the individual by prescribing these medications and treatments. That is why, when a person is showing even the earliest signs of psychomotor retardation and severe depression, to get help as soon as possible for that individual. It is the best and most effective way to encourage treatment and to be able to hope for a full recovery.

Sources: psychweekly.com, wikipedia.com

Depression in Boys

Depression in boys is often not as severe as what hits adult males when they encounter symptoms of depression. However, childhood and teen depression is unfortunately still high among both boys and girls. Depression in boys is more than just the typical blue days everyone experiences.

Depression can be found in just about anyone including boys. Depression in boys usually happens when something significant or severely detrimental occurs in a boy or teen male’s life. Just because a child acts sad one day does not mean they are depressed. However, depressed boys and teens will often show signs of prolonged sadness and even disruptive behavior as a way to cope with this mental and emotional pain. The symptoms of depression in boys changes depending on the child and why they are in particularly feeling depressed. Some depression in boys is caused by problems in the family or at home. Many children who have lost a parent or close family member might become depressed. Boys and girls in foster care often exhibit depression symptoms because of the instability of their upbringing and home life. Many younger children exhibit symptoms of depression through acting out or showing angry behaviors. Depression in boys and  younger children and teens often goes undiagnosed and is never even recognized until the symptoms are shown more steadily toward their older teen and adult years. Many of these situations go undiagnosed because so many children are consistently experiencing hormonal and emotional changes as they grow and develop. Unfortunately this is considered “masked depression” and the symptoms are not as readily apparent in young children and teens.

Some of the signs and symptoms of depression in boys include irritability and anger, continuous feelings of sadness, loneliness, social withdrawal, changes in appetite, vocal outbursts, excessive crying, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and low energy physical complaints like headache and stomach ache, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, thoughts of death or suicide. While it may be difficult to believe, depression in boys can lead to cases of self-harm and even suicide. While not nearly as common as older teens and adults, some depression in boys can hit excessive highs leaving the young boys and male teens to wonder where they can go to deal with their pain especially when the pain is confusing or goes unnoticed.

Not all children or boys with depression will even exhibit these symptoms. Many will at different points in their development. It is important to note that most depression in boys will lead to cases with poor academic performance or a change in appearance. In some cases with depression in boys, the young men will be more likely to experiment with drugs or alcohol. This is especially common in depressed boys over the age of 12. Depression in boys is also more common when there is family history of violence and depression with parents, grandparents, etc. According to current depression statistics, about 2.5 children in the United States suffer from depression. However, it is more common in boys under the age of 10, but become more common in girls once they reach the teen years.

It is up to a mental health professional to determine whether or not the signs a boy might be showing are actually signs of depression. If the mental health professional is able to determine whether or not the boy or teen is in fact suffering from depression, it is time to get treatment. In all cases with depression, getting help early is the best and most effective treatment. When it comes to treatment options, therapy with a child psychologist or a mental health care provider that is trained in dealing with cases of depression in boys and children, is a great way to help your child recover from this early onset of a mental illness. Some children, depending on age, might be prescribed with an antidepressant. However, it is important to be weary of antidepressants for children. In many different types of this medication, boys and girls can react negatively to it and it might even make the depression symptoms worsen. However, certain types have been recognized by the FDA as safe and effective in treating depression in boys and girls over age 8 and up.

Careful monitoring needs to be done with children who have depression especially if they are on antidepressants. It is important to be sure they are not making the symptoms worse. If there are any issues with the medication, it is important to consult a doctor or mental health care provider immediately.

Sources: webmd.com

Depression Symptoms

Depression symptoms can vary depending on the type of depression one is suffering from. This article discusses what depression symptoms to look for in your loved one.  Learn what depression symptoms are associated with different types of depression.

Because there are several different kinds of depression, it only makes sense to talk about symptoms in the context of the type of depression involved. Naturally, a new mother suffering from post-partum depression is going to have a different experience than a pre-teen suffering from non-pathological depression because her dog was hit by a car. Both of those people will have different experiences than someone in a depressive phase of bipolar disorder.

Non-Pathological Depression and Its Symptoms

It is perfectly normal and natural for people to feel depressed for several weeks when they experience some dramatic and/or painful loss. A person who has lost a job, a friend, or a pet, had a family member or friend become gravely ill or die, or received some other blow will normally have a reaction that may be referred to as non-pathological depression to signify that it is not a mental disorder that requires treatment but the natural response of human beings to suffering. While the person who feels this kind of depression may have similar symptoms to depression that is a mood disorder—such as reduced appetite, withdrawal, and trouble sleeping—it is distinguished by the fact that it resolves without any medical intervention in a matter of weeks.

Major Depressive Disorder and Its Symptoms

Major depressive disorder is also called unipolar disorder to distinguish it from bipolar disorder, as well a major depression or clinical depression, to distinguish it from non-pathological depression. This is the disorder people are usually referring to when they just say “depression.” Its symptoms appear episodically, i.e., they do go away after a time, and a person may have a single episode, or repeated occurrences.

The symptoms, which may be severe, include a depressed mood that renders the person non-reactive to things in life that would normally excite or interest him or her, pervasive sadness, loss of interest in food and consequent loss of weight, and lessened interest in his or her usual activities. Physical pains and aches that are unresponsive to treatment, and—in the most extreme cases—suicidal thoughts and/or attempts may occur.

Dysthymic Disorder and Its Symptoms

This less well-known type of depression is also called mild or minor depression or dysthymia. Although people who suffer from it may not experience the deep despair of major depression, calling it mild or minor is a misnomer. This is partly because—unlike major depression—it is chronic, often lasting two years or more—unlike the episodic appearance of major depression. The long duration of depressed thoughts contributes to engraining them in the person’s mind, so that even when other symptoms have lessened, the thought may reoccur unbidden.

Other Types of Depression and Their Symptoms

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is, as its name suggests, a type of depression that is linked to the time of year, usually late fall and winter, when lack of sunlight and chilly weather contributes to depressive symptoms that may include anxiety, fatigue, irritability, and lack of energy. Postpartum Depression is a type of depression that is linked to the unique circumstance of giving birth, and in addition to symptoms that it shares in common with other depressive disorders, the mother may also think about harming her baby or show signs of psychosis. Atypical depression is the odd-man out in this group: people with this type of depression are likely to remain emotionally responsive to events and not have the completely flattened emotional range often seen in other forms of depression. There are some other differences as well.

Depression in Children

Diagnosing depression in children can be more difficult than determining adult or teen depression.  Read this article to learn what depression symptoms to look for in children and get statistics on depression in children. Also, find treatment options for childhood depression.

Some people may be surprised to hear that there is such a thing as childhood depression. In fact, there was a period during which doctors didn’t think childhood depression existed, but this opinion has been revised in the last twenty years. In fact, recent research leads experts to believe that Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) can affect children as early as at age 3. Major Depressive Disorder, also called clinical depression, is classified as a mood disorder and typical symptoms include sadness, withdrawal, eating and sleeping changes, and increased suicide risk.

With the newness of these realizations, it is difficult to find accurate information on the frequency of depression in very young children. However, the National Comorbidity Survey – Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A) published in October of 2010 states that 7.4 percent of 13 to 14 year olds, 12.2 percent of 15 to 16 year olds, and 15.4 percent of seventeen to eighteen year olds have experienced either Major Depressive Disorder or Dysthymia. Dysthymia is depression that is chronic but milder than major depression, usually having a childhood onset, and characterized by personality changes.

The Surgeon General’s report offers estimates that a tenth to an eighth of children and adolescents are depressed at some time, with about one-twentieth of children aged 9 to 17 receiving a diagnosis of major depression. For those who have major depression, if usually lasts 7 to 9 months, while for those who has dysthymic disorder it lasts about 4 years. A child may have a tendency towards depression if his or her parents have a history of depression.

Pharmacological treatments for childhood depression are now used hesitantly since there are concerns about giving these medications to children who are still undergoing brain development as well as about suicide (in fact, some antidepressants carry a warning and may not be prescribed to anyone under the age of 18.

Another treatment approach, dyadic play therapy, is currently being tested as an early intervention at the Early Emotional Development program at Washington University in St. Louis. In dyadic play therapy, the child’s primary caregiver is the one working with the child, but the caregiver wears an earpiece to receive coaching from a trained therapist aimed at helping the child regulate emotions and develop emotionally.

It was a report published by the director of this program, Joan L. Luby, M.D. and her colleagues at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 2009 that was one of the earliest to direct attention to the possibility of diagnosable depression in preschoolers aged 3 to 6.


DANA Foundation (2011, June 2). Depression: Not just for adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 22, 2011, from sciencedaily.com­

Types of Depression

Although people often talk about depression as if it were one thing, there are actually several different types of depression, and it is important to understand the distinctions.  This article helps define several types of depression, or depressive disorders.

One of the most important distinctions to understand is the difference between depression as a natural and ordinate response to a traumatic or very distressing event. This type of depression resolves naturally in a matter of weeks after the initiating event and considered a normal and expected reaction, not a mental health issue.

When depression is not of this type, then it is considered a diagnosable mental health issue. It may have similar symptoms to reactive depression—feelings of sadness and low mood, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, loss of interest in normal activities and withdrawal, for example—but it continues beyond the point at which one would expect normal depression to resolve.

When depression is a mental health issue, it may exist as a mood disorder or a component of a mood disorder, on the one hand, or in tandem with another disorder.  Though the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) from the World Health Organization (WHO) classify these a bit differently, we can see some patterns in the occurrence of depression.

Depressive Disorders

In the first case, the following distinctions can be made:

  • A single episode of depression, which may be mild, moderate, or severe, and which may or may not include psychotic features
  • Recurring major depression, also called major depressive disorder,, which also may be mild, moderate, or severe, and may or may not include psychotic features
  • Chronic depression, also called Dysthymic disorder
  • Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, in which patients move between depression (which my be mild, moderate, or severe), normal moods, and manic or hypomanic episodes. Bipolar disorder is divided into two types, labeled I, and II, and Cyclothemia, in which the extremes are hypomania and mild depression.

Other types of depression include postpartum depression.

Disorders Including a Depressive Element

In the second case, depression is found linked to both early-onset and late-onset Alzheimer’s dementia, vascular dementia, and adjustment disorder, according to the DSM-IV-TR breakdown. Dementia refers to a loss of the normal functioning ability of the brain. Adjustment disorder refers to a difficulty in adapting after a period in which a major stress occurs.

According to the ICD-10 breakdown, one finds depression as a substantive part of not only unspecified senile depressed dementia, but also several types of psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, depressive conduct disorder, as well as occurring in post-schizophrenic depression. Psychosis refers to a loss of contact with reality.

Other issues that fit this category are premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Co-Occurring Depression

Besides these issues in which depression is the focus or plays a major part, depression can also co-occur with a separate mental health issue. This is often found to be the case with substance abuse and eating disorders.