The Surprising Statistics on
Childhood Depression

The statistics on childhood depression are staggering! In 20 years the rates of childhood depressive disorders have doubled, rising at a alarming rate of 20 percent a year.

Childhood Depression
Image courtesy of Alyssa L. Miller
Statistics on Childhood Depression

In the United States, Great Britain and Australia, the statistics of childhood depression shows that suicide is one of the most common causes to death in children, particularly teenagers. In the United States, specifically, over 1/3 of children have been diagnosed with depressive disorders, including children under six years old! This, in and of itself is alarming. It is sure the be the case in other countries as well as children face so much more than the older generations ever had to.

There have been many studies indicating that antidepressant medication is ineffective in people under the age of 18. The British Medical Journal did a study and concluded that, not only are antidepressants ineffective in kids under 18, they also commonly lead to suicide when taken by the age population. The FDA came to the same conclusion stating that antidepressants taken by children under the age of 18 may lead to suicide and/or suicidal ideation. Knowing this, it should bother anybody that the fastest growing market for medications prescribed to preschool kids is antidepressants.

Factors Contributing to Childhood Depressive Disorders

Our youth today are faced with more than we could have ever imagined as children. Child abuse has become epidemic in countries all around the world. Abuse is not only physical. It can be emotional and verbal as well. All three are equally as degrading and damaging to the overall well being of the victim – the children. They develop low self esteem, they feel worthless, hopeless and this leads to them feeling seriously depressed. In some cases, it can be severe. It is so damaging that it can be very difficult to treat because the feelings become so engrained in their sense of who they are.

Other factors include serious illness, divorce, and injuries – just to name a few. Many more kids in today’s day and age fight cancer and live in, or come from, broken homes. All of this affects the child’s sense of self and can increase the chance of becoming depressed. Depressive disorders have been determined in children as young as 3 or 4 years of age. This is simply shocking.

The statistics on childhood depression are not fully known as most childhood cases go undiagnosed, thus untreated. It wasn’t until the early 1990’s when studies began on children because the symptoms were often unnoticed or misinterpreted as normal “childhood behavior”.

Many more children these days are experiencing events that may lead to the illness, such as injuries, divorce in the family, serious illness and other conditions that may lead them to become depressed. Their symptoms are not as often shown as those of older children and may be overlooked in many cases. Even very young children, as youthful as 3 or 4 may experience a depressive disorder.

As I said, the statistics on childhood depression are shocking! We can make a difference though. To do so, it is important to learn to recognize the depression symptoms and seek professional help as soon as possible to ensure a happy, fully functioning child and, ultimately adult.

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