Diagnosis of Depression in Children

Depression once associated with the adults only has appeared to afflict the children too, who were believed to lack the essential emotional and cognitive constitution that could make them a victim of the disorder. But new generation seems to be highly affected with the disorder. Nowadays, children from this group suffer from heavy depression and also commit suicides, which continue to rise with passing time. Even in preschoolers, the children suffer from depressive disorder. They often react sadly to situations, face normal stress which often augment to clinical depression.

Both the young girls and boys of the same age group get equally affected with depression, but the adolescent females are the worst affected.

Factors involved in augmenting the risk of depression in children:

  • Inherited depression (family history of depression)
  • Anxiety and anxiety disorders
  • Unsatisfactory performance at school
  • Substance abuse
  • Persistent mild depression resulting in dysthymia

Identifying depression symptoms in preschool children is not easy. Since the very young children are unable to put their thoughts into words, or express their feelings hence a child’s behavior is often reflection of depression.

Diagnosing depression in preschool children requires tentative observation. The professionals, trained observers and child’s caregivers attribute the following reasons as the probable symptoms for depressive mood:


  • Absence of any physical cause to allow the child grow normally
  • During the normal milestones of development a regression or delay
  • Distance from the caretaker of child, with whom the child is emotionally attached

The play interviews, observation and history offer the possible causes for the disorder among the preschoolers.

Dealing with depression, its causes and symptoms with the school going children can be challenging.

The school going children, who can speak about their stressor and feelings, and are able to think could show these symptoms majorly:

  • Through compliance gaining acceptance and overachieving things
  • Swinging moods such as tantrums, irritability or quarrelsomeness
  • Non-acceptance to leave parents and attend school shows anxiety
  • Stomach pains and non- organic headaches, the physical complaints

Teachers, the children and the parents can help in getting the desired information about these children. Lack of acceptance, poor academic performance, criticism of the child and quarrels within the family give rise to stress in the age group.

After you have identified the symptoms and know the causes, it is wise to diagnose for the disorder. Evaluation of the cognitive and mental processes and a thorough medical examination is the first step in diagnosis, which can be followed with laboratory tests.