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April 3, 2013

Everybody Hurts

by Tracy Jensen

Kids can get sad, too. Maybe they are not stressed about mortgages and work, but friendship problems and anxiety over schoolwork are very real and deserve our understanding. Sometimes kids can be legitimately sad over real things that children shouldn’t have to deal with. For us, the loss of my mom to cancer a few years back weighs pretty heavy on my daughter.

Yes, everyone, even kids, feel down. But what if it is more? How can you tell the difference between sadness or the “blues” and depression? And why is it so important to figure out if kids are really depressed?

Depression can have serious consequences for kids, from social withdrawal to substance abuse to the worst-case scenario, suicide. But there are also some less obvious risks. A new study suggests there is a relationship between depression in childhood and an increased risk of heart disease in adulthood. While the direct cause is unknown, kids in the study that suffered from depression were more likely to smoke and be overweight as teens and adults.

The good news is that there are ways to treat depression. If you are worried, be sure to speak with your doctor, to get your child checked and possibly treated.

How have you been able to get through sad times as a family?

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