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1237 E. Livingston Street, Suite B

Orlando, FL 32803-5401

Ph: 407-895-0540 ~ Fax: (407) 228-9771

Licenses:  SS00305 ~ MH02676 ~ PCE-9

The Depressed Child or Teen Signs of Depression Treatment for Depression

Recognition


The first step in helping the depressed child is to recognize that the child is, in fact, depressed.  This can be challenging.  For one thing, it is difficult for adults to accept that young children – even toddlers – can suffer from depression.  Childhood is supposed to be a happy, carefree time of life.  Only in the last few decades has scientific evidence convinced mental health specialists that childhood depression exists.


Recognizing the symptoms of childhood depression can also be difficult.  While some children display the classic symptoms – sadness, anxiety, restlessness, eating and sleeping problems – others express their depression through physical problems – various aches and pains that do not respond to treatment.  Still others hide their feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness under a cover of irritability, aggression, hyperactivity and misbehavior.  Such “agitated depression” can be very hard to recognize for what it is:  the child may be making other family members so miserable, he seems to have a behavior problem rather than depression.


Developmental Stages


Complicating the recognition of depression are the developmental stages that children pass through on the way to adulthood.  Negativism, clinginess, or rebellion may be normal and temporary depressed moods just as adults experience.  Careful observation of a child for several weeks may be required to determine if there is a problem.  When symptoms of possible depression seem severe or continue for more than a few weeks, an evaluation by the child’s pediatrician to rule out a physical illness would be a good first step.  A next step, if deemed necessary, would be consultation with a mental health professional who specializes in treating children.


Treatment


While parents typically assume prime responsibility for getting treatment for their depressed child, other people – relatives, teachers, friends – can play a role.  The important role played by parents cannot be emphasized enough.  Parents not only procure their child’s treatment, it often is necessary for them to participate in it. Sometimes a parent may reap some personal benefit from a child’s treatment.


The major objectives of treatment, however, are to alleviate the child’s depression and strengthen the child’s coping and adaptive skills, possibly preventing future psychological problems.  This is not to say the early treatment is the total answer.  Some problems are not readily resolved and some re-emerge later in life.

Depression in Children

That's the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it's impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key.

                                      ~ Elizabeth Wurtzel

Notice:  Leave of Absence Closure

Dr. Messenger will be starting  A Leave of Absence as of Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 for an unspecified time.  Assessments and consultation can be scheduled until then.  The website will remain available for educational purposes, until the office is reopened.