Glossary of Medical Terms

Depression in Children and Teens

Depression in children and teens is more than feeling moody or sad from time to time. It is a serious mood disorder that can take the joy from a child's life.

Children who are depressed may be sad all the time. Sometimes they may seem grumpy or bored, or they may complain of stomachaches and headaches. They may not take pleasure in things they used to enjoy. A child who is depressed may also lose or gain weight, or sleep too much or too little. He or she may feel hopeless, worthless, or guilty. The child may have trouble concentrating, thinking, or making decisions. He or she may think a lot about death or suicide.

Counseling and education for the child and the family are usually the first steps in treating depression. Medicine may be an option if the child is very depressed. A child who is severely depressed may need treatment in the hospital. 

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