Depression is most prevalent mood disorder in children and adolescents. There are higher rates of depression in adolescents than in children. 2.8% children under 13 years old are depressed. 5.6% of adolescents 13-18 years old are depressed. There is no sex differences in prevalence in pre-pubertal children. In post-pubertal children, the prevalence in girls are higher than in boys.

Clinical Management

Guidelines for Clinical Management

  • Screening
  • Diagnosis
  • Severity assessment of depression
  • Treatment
  • Monitoring of treatment response

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our mission is to promote the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and related disorders and to improve the lives of all those who suffer from them through education, practice, and research.

Risk Factors of Depression in Children and Adolscents

  • Family History of Depression
  • Exposure to psychosocial stress

Negative Lifelong Consequences

  • Hinders children and adolescents in effectively carrying out development tasks
  • School performance, social life, and professional achievements is detrimentally effected
  • Unruly or withdrawn behavior
  • Problematic substance abuse
  • Increased rate of smoking, substance abuse and obesity

Signs of Depression in Children and Adolescents

  • Sadness that lasts most of the day
  • More crankiness and irritability than usual
  • An inability to have fun doing things that used to be fun
  • Regressing behavior-acting younger than their age
  • Felling tired all the time for no medical reason
  • Trouble sleeping through the night
  • Changes in appetite
  • Thoughts of death and suicide
  • Mood swings

If you notice any of these behaviors in your child persisting for two weeks or more, take them to a doctor for evaluation.

Depression and Children