Depression: Did You Know?
- Depression is one of the three most commonly diagnosed mood disorders. The other two are:
- Dysthymia, a low-grade, chronic depression
- Bipolar Disorder (also referred to as manic depression), extreme mood swings punctuated by periods
of generally even-keeled behavior
- Depression is more than the "blues" that everyone experiences – feelings of sadness that eventually pass. It’s an illness, not a character flaw or a weakness. People who suffer from depression cannot shake it off. They need help to overcome it.
- There is no single known cause of depression. It most likely results from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors. (National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH))
- The incidence of childhood depression has been growing steadily, and the age at which it first appears in children continues to drop.
- As many as 10 percent of children suffer from depression before age 12. (Niehart, 2001)
- Before puberty, boys and girls are equally likely to develop depression; but by age 15, girls are far more likely than boys to do so. (NIMH)
- Some experts are convinced that gifted children are more likely to suffer from depression, while others believe the evidence does not support that claim.
- Research has consistently shown a link between children with learning disabilities and depression.
- Effective treatments for depression include counseling, education, and antidepressant medication.
- According to the NIMH, younger children with depression may do the following:
- Pretend to be sick
- Refuse to go to school
- Cling to a parent
- Worry that a parent may die.
- Older children with depression may:
- Get into trouble at school
- Be negative and irritable
- Feel misunderstood.
- The symptoms of depression in children are easy to mistake for the normal mood swings that occur as children move through developmental stages.
- Parents who suspect that their child is depressed can do the following:
- Reduce or eliminate their child’s consumption of sugar and caffeine, which destabilize moods.
- Increase the child’s level of exercise, especially if he or she has not been recently active.
- Encourage the child to maintain or build social relationships with true peers.
- Many gifted and 2e children have traits that appear to be related to childhood and adolescent depression as well as suicide:
- Feelings of loneliness and alienation
(Webb & others, 2007, p. 153)
National Institute of Mental Health. Depression. Available from www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/complete-publication.shtml
Niehart, M. (2001). Depression and gifted children. Duke Gifted Letter, Volume 1/Issue 2/Winter. (Available from www.dukegiftedletter.com/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/15)
Webb, J., Gore, J., Amend, E. & DeVries, A. (2007). A parent’s guide to gifted children. Scottsdale: Great Potential Press, Inc.
More Information about Depression
For more on anxiety and mood disorders, see these articles from the July, 2008, issue of 2e:Twice-Exceptional Newsletter:
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