Preschoolers Depressed?

By: Aaron Luna Email
By: Aaron Luna Email

Does your preschooler have a case of the baby blues? Or could it be depression?

For father James Scott its two emotions that his children show the most. "Happy and mad, they are happy until I tell them not to do something then they are mad, that's about it," says, Scott. And today sad hasn't even crossed their minds as they swing and slide at the Lincoln Park playground.

But according to a new study, children as young as three are now being diagnosed with chronic depression. "Yes, depression can exist in children," says, Michelle Hoy with Colorado West Mental Health. Hoy says, diagnosing children can be difficult. "Depression has some fairly set symptoms but they are often different in children."

Frequent sadness, crying, decreased interest in activities and low energy are just some indicators of child depression. "We see a lot of complaints, being tired to being bored changes in sleep changes in appetite," says, Cheryl Young a licensed marriage and family therapist. Young says she's seen an increase in young patients with depression symptoms. "Between childhood and adolescence that at any one time ten to 15 percent of children can have an episode of depression," says Young.

According to the World Health Organization by 2020 depression could be the second leading cause of disability world wide. Some suspected reasons include decreased structure and shared values in families and communities; increased exposure to traumatic events in life and through media, as well as fewer good coping skills taught in school like music sports and art.

Young says others factors are genetic or biological. "It happens in the brain, the body and the mind," says, Young. She also says parents should look for a change in normal behavior that lasts more than six weeks.

More signs and symptoms of childhood depression include major changes in eating or sleeping and frequent physical complaints.

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