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Causes of Childhood Depression

by Yvette Sajem
  • Overview

    Causes of Childhood Depression
    Causes of Childhood Depression
    Twenty years ago, depression in children was barely recognized. Today, it is not only recognized, but is taken quite seriously as a dangerous condition. The age of onset for childhood depression has dropped rapidly, and doctors are seeing more and more cases--both boys and girls--of major depression and other mental disorders in young children. Typically, there is no one cause for the onset of childhood depression, but rather it is brought on by a combination of internal (genetics or illness) and external (life events) factors.
  • Family History

    According to one study (Wang and Crane, 2001), if a child is living with a depressed parent or parents, he is likely to become depressed. Additionally, children with a family history of mental disorders are at a higher risk for developing depression.
    Causes of Childhood Depression
    Causes of Childhood Depression
 
  • Family Instability

    Children who are exposed to a turbulent home environment, or who are exposed to physical, sexual or verbal abuse, are at risk for depression.
  • Medical Problems

    Children who suffer from a chronic condition such as diabetes or asthma, or a serious illness such as cancer, are more susceptible to developing depression.
    Causes of Childhood Depression
    Causes of Childhood Depression
  • Neuropsychiatric Disorders

    Neurological and learning disorders can predispose children to depression, because the same brain chemicals are impacted. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, autism or Tourette's syndrome all put children at risk for depression.
  • Life Events

    A traumatic life event, like parents divorcing, the death of a parent, sibling or beloved pet, or moving can all trigger depression in a child.
    Causes of Childhood Depression
    Causes of Childhood Depression
  • Television

    According to Healthy Place.com, recent studies show that children who watch more than 6 hours of television per day are more likely to develop problems with aggression, anxiety and depression.

    References & Resources