What Are The Leading Causes Of Childhood Depression?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.4% of children(or 2.7 million approx.) between the ages of 3 to 17 years were diagnosed with depression between 2016 and 2019. Depression is a mood disorder that mainly includes a low mood, sadness, lack of motivation to do anything, and loss of interest. Understanding the leading causes of childhood depression is essential to provide the necessary care for children and supporting them in recovering from this condition.

Leading Causes Of Childhood Depression

Physical Health – Chronic or severe health conditions, including obesity, can make a child prone to depression. Harsh conditions can be too much to handle for anyone and overwhelm the child into a low mood.

Situational – Stressful life events or significant changes in circumstances related to parents, peers, or friends can cause a child to become disheartened and develop a mood disorder.

Environment – A stressful or chaotic home life can overwhelm a child. Such an environment includes abuse, poor living conditions, or too much conflict between parents.

Family history – If someone in the previous generation or the direct family of the child had a mood disorder at an early age, chances are that the condition is caused by this family history, among other factors.

Genetic Vulnerability – Some people might be genetically vulnerable to depression due to their brain chemistry or other factors that might make them prone to the disorder.

Biochemical imbalance – Serotonin, dopamine, or norepinephrine affect feelings of happiness and pleasure. These neurotransmitters(chemical messengers for the body and brain) may be out of balance in people with depression. And an imbalance may cause depression, but their influence isn’t precisely understood.

How To Know If A Child Is Suffering From Depression?

The signs of childhood depression are similar to that of depression in adults in the general population. Some symptoms to look out for include:-
-low mood or sadness,
-loss of interest in all activities,
-low energy or tiredness,
-feeling guilty or worthless,
-emotional outbursts,
-crying and defiance,
-dysregulated sleep and appetite,
-and social isolation or anti-social behavior.

If any of these symptoms, especially low mood and sadness and loss of interest in activities, persist for more than two weeks, the child in question likely suffers from depression. However, it is advisable not to take action until an official diagnosis is given.

Read more: Can natural remedies aid your recovery from depression?

How To Care For A Child With Depression?

A child with depression needs to be taken special care of. The first step is getting an official diagnosis and starting a treatment plan. Having this disorder in childhood means that the child is prone to more mental health conditions or might lack the basic skills and competency required to fit in with society.

If these children are not given proper care at the right time, the quality of their lives can be significantly affected. Giving in to the condition, many children also have thoughts of self-harm and suicide and are overly self-critical. You can show the child support, try to understand how they feel, and help them overcome the mood disorder to help.

Read more: How does mental health affect family relationships?


Depression is a mood disorder mainly consisting of low mood and lack of motivation or interest to do anything. Many children suffer from clinically diagnosed depression but do not get the necessary or timely help to overcome this condition.  To identify such children, you can check them for the symptoms of depression. The leading causes of depression can help healthcare professionals and communities make environments that aid the development of better mental health. But to do this, spreading mental health awareness among the public is needed. On that note, here are the 22 best mental health awareness blogs to keep you informed.

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