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Child Depression Essay, Research Paper

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Childhood depression is not just a mood swing where a child can plainly snap out of it. This disorder goes beyond the sadness of having a bad day and having to cope with it. It’s even worse than dealing with a deceased parent or loss of a friend when the child has to move. This disorder involves the brain, and affects the way the child feels, thinks, and acts. This disease is highly treatable if detected early on and the child can avoid school failure, thoughts of suicide and the like. Here are some facts regarding childhood depression:

? Youth under stress who experience a loss or who have attention, learning, or conduct disorders are at a higher risk for depression. (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry [AACAP], 1995)

? Almost one-third of six- to twelve-year-old children diagnosed with major depression will develop bipolar disorder within a few years. (AACAP, 1995)

? Four out of every five runaway youths suffer from depression. (U.S. Select Committee on Children, Youth & Families)

? Clinical depression can contribute to eating disorders. On the other hand, an eating disorder can lead to a state of clinical depression. (Stellefson, Medical University of South Carolina, 1998)

Early detection is key to zapping this illness at its core. Many parents and friends feel that if the child is acting in a depressed way around other children and at home that it’s just another “kid” thing, and move on not to worry about the child. If this were the case with an upset stomach, the child would see the Doctor shortly after discovery. This should also be done with depression. Here are a few early signs of childhood depression:

? Persistent sadness and hopelessness

? Withdrawal from friends and from activities once enjoyed

? Increased irritability or agitation

? Missed school or poor school performance

? Changes in eating and sleeping habits

? Indecision, lack of concentration, or forgetfulness

? Poor self-esteem or guilt

? Frequent physical complaints, such as headaches and stomachaches

? Lack of enthusiasm, low energy, or low motivation

? Drug and/or alcohol abuse

? Thoughts of death or suicide

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