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Childhood Depression

The Myth of a Happy Childhood

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Updated October 17, 2012

Do you ever find yourself wishing you could recapture the carefree days of childhood? Kids have absolutely nothing to worry about, do they? No bills to pay, bosses to answer to, or obligations to keep. They have none of the everyday stresses that we adults have. But, is childhood really a time of bliss? The truth is, childhood is far from being without stress.

Children can be faced with many difficulties that they are ill-equipped to handle emotionally: divorce, poverty, learning disabilities, abuse, and neglect just to name a few. Children by nature feel powerless against these situations and the effects can remain with them well into adulthood.

But, what if your child does not fall into any of these categories? Does this guarantee a child free from depression? The answer is no.

A very important factor in childhood depression is that it may be a biologically based illness. Children with an inherited tendency for depression will be highly susceptible to the strains caused by the need for peer acceptance. Because it is caused by an imbalance in brain chemistry, it may appear to you that there is nothing so severely wrong in your child's life that would merit being depressed. Just as with adult depression, a child's perception of the world may be distorted. He may feel that he is unlovable, "stupid", or "bad" even though these things simply are not true.

Further complicating matters is the fact that young children do not have labels for these feelings and cannot vocalize what it is that's happening to them. They may not even realize that they are not normal feelings. To a child, it may seem that this is "just the way life is".

What can you as a parent, teacher, or other concerned adult do to help? The most important thing you can do is to realize that children can become depressed just like adults and you should promptly seek out help if you see the signs of depression in a child.

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  8. Childhood Depression Is Not a Myth

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