Depression in Children and Teens
Thursday, November 6, 2008

The teenage years are a time of transition from childhood into adulthood. Teens may feel overwhelmed by the emotional and physical changes they are going through. This can lead to depression. Dr. Edward Hill discusses depression in children and teens in today’s 60 Second Housecall.

Depression is an illness that makes you feel sad or hopeless. It may be caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain and it can be triggered by stressful events, like losing a parent or loved one, the breakup of a relationship, abuse or a physical illness. Depression also can run in families.

If your child is depressed, he or she may seem less confident or lose interest in things he or she used to enjoy. Your child may have trouble focusing, or seem grouchy or angry. He or she may not want to go to school.

Depression can be treated with counseling or with medicines called antidepressants, or both. Counseling usually is used for mild or moderate depression. Counseling and medicine together are used for more severe depression.

Antidepressants are not addictive. They balance chemicals in the brain. They do not cause a “high.” Your doctor will talk with you about stopping the medicine slowly when your child is ready.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Edward Hill.