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Depression In Children


Depression is a medical condition that causes your child to feel sad, hopeless, or irritable. Depression may cause your child to lose interest in things he used to enjoy. He may also be angry, do poorly in school, isolate himself, or complain about pain. These feelings can interfere with your child's daily life.


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Your child has done something on purpose to hurt himself, or he tries to commit suicide.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child says he wants to commit suicide.
  • Your child's mood gets worse.
  • Your child has new symptoms, such as headaches or nausea, after starting antidepressants.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


  • Antidepressants may be given to improve or balance your child's mood. Your child may need to take this medicine for several weeks before he begins to feel better. Watch your child very closely when he begins to take antidepressants, or if his healthcare provider changes the amount or type of medicine he takes. Antidepressants increase the risk of suicide in some children.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

How to support your child:

  • Take your child to therapy as directed. Therapy may be used to treat your child's depression. A therapist will help your child learn to cope with his thoughts and feelings. This can be done alone or in a group. It may also be done with family members.
  • Watch your child carefully for any behavior changes. Talk to your child's healthcare provider if you have concerns or questions about your child's behavior. Children with depression have an increased risk for suicide.
  • Encourage healthy eating and sleeping habits. Make sure your child eats a variety of healthy foods. Stick to a sleep schedule so he gets enough sleep. Your child may sleep better if his room is quiet and dark.
  • Make sure your child gets 1 hour of physical activity every day. Encourage your child to play sports or be active every day. Physical activity can reduce symptoms of depression.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Your child's healthcare provider will monitor your child's medicine if he takes antidepressants. He or she will ask your child questions to find out if the medicine is helping. Tell the healthcare provider about any problems your child has with his medicine. The kind or amount of medicine may need to be changed. If your child cannot come to an appointment, reschedule as soon as possible. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Depression In Children (Aftercare Instructions)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes