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What Causes Childhood Depression?

What Causes Childhood Depression? The answer to this question is different for each individual child. Some children may become depressed when they lose a loved one or close friend. Read on to learn more about what causes childhood depression.



There is not one thing that caused childhood depression and the same event being experience by a number of children will affect each child in a different way. Some children have been taught how to handle and deal with a number of strong emotions while others have no idea how to deal with them. Some children may sufferd from childhood depresson because they have physical problems that are chronic or painful and ongoing. Then others will simply present with symptoms of depression out of the blue. This can be from a number of things happening. In some cases heredity seems to be a big part in whether or not a child will suffer from childhood depression.

Some of the things that need to be considered whn asking "What causes chiildhood depression?" are:

  • Does the child have a personal or family history of depression. It is believed that depression can be sent down from one generation to the next.
  • Physical, sexual or emotional abuse.

  • Any major conflict with friends, peers, or family members.

  • Serious illness. There is a definite mind-body connection with certain illnesses and depression.

  • Certain medications can alter mood and overall sense of well being.

  • Drug or alcohol abuse.

  • Many major life changes can cause someone to feel depressed. For example, a child may experience depression when moving, starting college, changing jobs, parents divorce or other changes in their every day life.

  • Mental illness, social isolation or other personal problems may play a role.

Scientists have discovered that there is a definite change in the brains of depressed people compared to others without signs of depression. The part of the brain known as the hippocampus (stores memories) is smaller in people with a history of depression. Due to the small size, the person has less serotonin receptors. Seratonin is a chemical that sends messages between the nerves in the brain and the body.

It is not known why the hippocampus is smaller. It is believed by some that depressed people are born with a smaller hippocampus and therefore have a predisposition for depression. These same people produce more cortisol which is a stress hormone crucial to the function of the hippocampus. An MRI can actually show changes in the brain of someone that is depressed.

Scientists know that there is a definite genetic link so if you know that you or your close family members suffer from depression you need to know that your child may naturally come by it Learn the childhood depression warning signs and watch for symptoms in your child. If you think your child is suffering from childhood depression get them the help that they need as soon as possible by visiting your family physician or pediatrician.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

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