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You’ve noticed your child is more withdrawn. He or she loses interest in enjoyable activities, preferring to spend time alone. Your child seems more irritable or sad than usual, and grades are starting to slip. These behaviors can signal childhood depression, so it’s important to share them with your child’s Mercy pediatrician or primary care physician.
Nearly 2 million U.S. children ages 2-17 have been diagnosed with depression – a mood disorder that causes persistent sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest, irritability and other symptoms that interfere with daily life. At Mercy, we offer treatment with compassion, dignity and respect to help your child overcome the challenges of depression and restore a healthy emotional balance.
Behaviors often seen in children with depression can be different from adults. If your child has one or more of these symptoms for at least two weeks, it’s time to talk with your Mercy pediatrician:
While the exact causes of childhood depression are unknown, research shows several factors that may put children at higher risk of developing depression. Factors that increase a child’s risk of developing depression include:
If you’re concerned about your child’s behavior, talk with your Mercy pediatrician about the next steps. Your child may be referred to a Mercy behavioral health specialist for evaluation.
Early diagnosis and intervention are critical for providing help to kids who have depression. Left untreated, it can worsen and become severe, increasing the risk of suicide. Mercy’s behavioral health specialists can help you find out if your child has depression. You and your child will talk about symptoms, how often they happen and how they affect daily life. You’ll also discuss your family’s mental health history, relationships, and any traumas or losses you’ve experienced.
Therapy allows children to talk about stressors and learn how to manage their emotions, feelings and behaviors.
Antidepressant medications can help relieve the symptoms of depression in some children and adolescents. Antidepressants increase levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine, which help regulate mood.
Several types of antidepressants have been approved by the FDA for treating depression in children. Your child’s Mercy pediatrician or behavioral health professional will discuss medication options (if appropriate for your child), including the benefits and risks.
At Mercy, we offer comprehensive testing services to diagnose conditions and injuries, including:
At Mercy, we offer compassionate care for a variety of treatment services, including: