Childhood Depression

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Childhood depressive disorder often goes unnoticed and is misdiagnosed because of lack of knowledge. This paper is an informative one that is meant to educate its readers on signs and symptoms of such a disorder. I will also be writing about the treatments for Childhood depressive disorder. There are therapies and prescribed medicines that help children who are depressed get through their daily lives. I took an interest in this disorder because childhood is supposed to be the most stress free, happy time is someone’s life but for some children it is not. I’m curious to know what could cause a child to so unhappy. As a mother I want to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disorder because if ever my own child or a child close me becomes depressed I want to be in a positions where I knew something was wrong and what steps I need to take as a parent to help my child. The details I plan to discuss in this paper are what childhood depressive disorder is and where it comes from, the effects of the disorder, how the disorder affects family and other systems, and how social workers and other professionals are able to help a child with this particular disorder.

Childhood Depressive Disorder is defined as an illness that prevents the child from his or her everyday functions. Though everyone feels some sadness on occasion, when this feeling becomes constantly recurrent, it is considered a disorder. Children under stress, who experience loss, or who have ADD/ADHD, learning, conduct or anxiety disorders are at a higher risk for depression. This is because children, unlike adults, have a harder time verbally expressing their internal emotions so they tend to act them out. People who are unaware of childhood depressive disorder automatically label the child as “hyper” or “challenged” or simply “disobedient.”

Some of the causes of Childhood Depressive Disorder are death, divorce, and family additions. Children tend to cope with death in different ways. Some don’t really understand it so it doesn’t bother them at all but others who are aware of what it means for someone to die are sometimes traumatized by the loss and this sends them in to a state of melancholy feelings. Children who were raised in what is known as the “nuclear” family and then later faced with having to deal with divorce also may go through a period of sadness. This is one of the primary reasons why children become depressed. Often times when families divorce the child looks at the situation as if he or she did something wrong. They place the blame on themselves because they think that had they did something different their parents would have stayed together. This feeling of guilt may cause the child to become depressed. Scientifically speaking, the three main causes of childhood depressive disorder are: intrapsychic, environmental, and biological. Intrapsychic means “occurring inside the mind.” Numerous theorists have suggested that childhood depressive disorder results from a tendency to internalize negative events. Environmental theories of the etiology or causation of childhood depressive disorder focus on the role of outside events in triggering depression. Children become depressed because to circumstances that are out of their control. Biological causes are allegedly linked to the child’s mind. The chemical “Cortisol,” a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland, may sometimes become unbalanced and trigger sad and eventually depressive emotions. Childhood Depressive Disorder can be considered a biological illness. Children with an inherited tendency towards depression have a low tolerance for stress. What might seem minor to an adult could easily trigger depression in children who have inherited this trait. Because of the chemical imbalance in the brain, these children, like adults with this disorder, have a negative view on the world around them. They feel poorly about themselves and can find very few positive things about themselves.

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