Home | Health | Depression & Health | Childhood Depression | What Are the Causes of Childhood Depression?

What Are the Causes of Childhood Depression?

by Yvette Sajem
  • Overview

    What Are the Causes of Childhood Depression?
    What Are the Causes of Childhood Depression?
    Childhood depression is more than a temper tantrum or a foul mood. It's even more than sadness over the death of a grandparent or beloved pet. Childhood depression is an overwhelming sadness that envelops your child every day for weeks or even months. It is a paralyzing lack of joy that prevents her from enjoying her life: her family, friends, school and activities no longer hold any interest for her or give her any pleasure. According to Kid's Health, childhood depression is not caused by one event or factor, but rather by a coming together of different elements in your child's body, mind and environment.
  • Genetics

    Depression and other mental disorders tend to run in families. According to Healthy Place, approximately 40% of children with a depressed parent will develop depression by the time they reach 20 years of age, and the younger the parent was when he or she became depressed, the earlier the onset of their child's depression is likely to be. In addition, if a child's mother has experienced severe depressive episodes, including at least one period of hospitalization, the likelihood of that child developing severe depression that is co-morbid with other mental disorders is greatly increased.
    What Are the Causes of Childhood Depression?
    What Are the Causes of Childhood Depression?
 
  • Neuropsychiatric Disturbance

    As with adults, your child may be predisposed to depression due to the imbalance of certain neurotransmitters--specifically serotonin and norepinephrine--in her brain. In addition, if your child has another neurological disorder, she at a higher risk for developing depression because many of the same neurotransmitters are affected. If your child has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, Tourette's syndrome, autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, she is at greater risk for the onset of depression.
  • Psychological Factors

    According to "Depression in Children: What Causes It and How We Can Help" by Irina V. Sokolova of the Rochester Institute of Technology, if your child has a negative thinking pattern she is at a higher risk for developing depression. Based on the cognitive theory of depression, Sokolova suggests that if your child reacts to situations and stressors in a negative way, i.e., if she has a tendency to always expect the worst or to perceive situations in the most negative light, then the possibility of her developing childhood depression is increased.
    What Are the Causes of Childhood Depression?
    What Are the Causes of Childhood Depression?
  • Physical Illness

    According to Healthy Place, if your child has a chronic illness or physical disability, the likelihood of her developing childhood depression is increased. Common childhood problems such as epilepsy, severe head injury, severe asthma, cancer or diabetes can put your child at a higher risk for depression.
  • Environmental Stresses

    Children who are already predisposed to mental illness may have a depressive episode triggered by any number of environmental stresses. According to Healthy Place, although it is possible for a single event to trigger childhood depression, recent studies show that 50% of depressed children experienced two or more traumatic events in the year prior to the onset of illness. Common childhood depression triggers include physical, verbal and sexual abuse, losing a parent, poverty, neglect, dysfunctional or turbulent home, unstable parent or school environment, and terrifying events such as witnessing a death or finding a body.
    What Are the Causes of Childhood Depression?
    What Are the Causes of Childhood Depression?

    References & Resources