All school-aged children and adolescents have their ups and downs, but if a child is displaying long-term irritability and sadness, he or she may be suffering from depression. It is important to note that depression is more than occasional mood swings. A depressed child can lose sleep, have low energy levels and become withdrawn from family and friends. The good news is that depression can be treated with the help of a child and adolescent psychiatrist. Proudly serving New Braunfels, San Marcos, Seguin, and the surrounding Texas Hill Country communities, Dr. Katie Skelton places an emphasis on the treatment of depression in children and teenagers.

What is Depression?

It is estimated approximately 5% of children and adolescents suffer from depression at any given time. Depression has the ability to affect a child’s life in numerous ways, including appetite, sleep patterns, relationships, behavior and academic performance. A depressed child experiences consistent, prolonged feelings of severe hopelessness and sadness that affects their daily life in a negative manner.

What are the Symptoms of Depression?

Symptoms of a depressed child often differ from a depressed adult. Common depression symptoms found in adolescents and children include:

  • Ongoing and frequent sadness and crying
  • Hopelessness
  • Decreased interest in activities
  • Low energy
  • Social isolation
  • Increased anger, hostility and irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Physical complaints such as upset stomach

A depressed child who once was actively engaged in school, athletics and friends may become withdrawn and lose interest in normal activities. Children and adolescents affected by depression may also talk about running away from home or suicide, as well as become attracted to drugs and alcohol as an attempt to feel better.

How is Depression Diagnosed?

Early diagnosis, as well as treatment, is vital for a depressed child. Depression is diagnosed by Dr. Skelton after talking with the parent and child. During the assessment, she will ask specific questions, evaluate symptoms and observe behavior patterns. Patients may be required to fill out a simple questionnaire in order to help with the depression diagnosis.

What are Treatment Options for a Depressed Child?

An early treatment plan is critical to a depressed child. It is important that depression is addressed as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of long term effects.

Depression is an illness that may require the help of a child and adolescent psychiatrist, such as Dr. Skelton. Treatment for a depressed child typically includes medication and various forms of therapy for both the child and family. Common forms of therapy shown to be effective in treating depression include interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Dr. Skelton will explain the risks and benefits of depression medication on an individual patient basis.

For additional resources on depression, or for more information on treating a depressed child, please contact the office of Dr. Katie Skelton, New Braunfels, San Marcos and Seguin, Texas area child and adolescent psychiatrist.