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Different Types of Depression in Children

stress-and-depression-in-children Depression in Children

Childhood depression or depression in children can be classified in different types.  Major depression, bipolar depression, dysthymia, psychotic depression and reactive depression are the different types of depression observed in children. Read more about the different types of depression in children.

Depression in children is increasing at a faster pace with little children getting affected quickly. Depression affects the mental, emotional, physical and cognitive functioning of the person at any age. It disturbs the child’s social life, school performance and relation with family and friends.

Depression in children can be of different types like Major depression, Bipolar Depression, Psychotic Depression, Dysthymia, Reactive depression, Atypical Depression etc.  Major depression or Clinical Depression is the most common type of depression in children. It can affect any person irrespective of age or gender. Here are the different types of depression observed in children.

Major Depression or Clinical Depression

Major depression also known as clinical depression, is a severe form of depression in children. Out of thirty children, one suffers from major depression. This disorder lasts for a short span of two weeks, but is highly serious. Major depression generally affects children between the age group of 10-11 years.

The child may feel sad and irritable all the time.  They may lose interest in doing their favourite things and even useless and neglected. Negative feelings take a strong place in their minds; they may start hating themselves and become very aggressive. They may either lose a lot of weight or gain more, might oversleep and abstain from personal cleanliness.

Such emotions can affect the child’s mental and physical well-being leading to suicidal tendencies. Major depression requires immediate professional help.

Bipolar Depression or Manic Depression

Bipolar disorder also known as manic depression is caused due to the imbalance in the chemical substances in the brain. This type of depression is different from the others because a child suffering from bipolar disorder may experience alternative mood swings. The child may either experience very high moods and very low moods at a given point of time.

Manic depression could affect anybody at any age, early diagnosis and treatment can cure this disorder with the help of professional intervention and medication.


This type of depression can affect children and even adults. Dysthymia when compared to other types of depression lasts longer, but is relatively less serious and severe. A child suffering from dysthymia could experience it for three to four years. 

Dysthymia affects nearly four percent of children every year. It is important to seek medical help for children suffering from dysthymia because if untreated, they could develop major depression within a span of five years. Dysthymia along with major depression is known as ‘Double Depression’

Psychotic Depression

Psychotic depression is characterised by visual or auditory hallucinations with delusions in the patient. Psychotic depression affects children and adults too at any age where they start hallucinating about various things. This disorder is a variety of major depression wherein the child could become very violent. They may harm themselves and even people around them. Immediate treatment is essential due to the risk of suicide. Suicide rates are considerably higher in psychotic depression than the other types.

Reactive Depression

This is most common form of depression. The severity of reactive depression is lower than the other types as here the child experiences mood swings which are common in our day to day lives. A child may feel depressed due to a fight with friends or family or any loss. The child may feel gloomy or weary for a short while or for a longer duration of maybe one week or two weeks. The child will overcome it soon and develop his interest in daily work and play.  

Depression can lead to fatal problems if not treated quickly. Proper treatment and professional help can treat depression and help your child live back his normal and chirpy life once again.

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Varsha.1 year ago
Thanks for the useful info! My eight years old cousin has suddenly started exhibiting some strange behavior. He didn’t start talking with anyone and did not respond properly when we ask him anything. Then we found out that he was affected by the depression and then cured him with a help of a doctor.
naveen.3 years ago
watch out for following symptoms.

1. your child will begin to loose interest in meeting people, friends and rather confine him/her self.

2. check breathing. you shall notice that it is becoming shallow

3. sleeplessness and check with the child if dreams are increasing

4. fatigue in arms and legs

5. in some case headaches in between eyebrows..

but do not jump on conclusion and panic... observe these symtoms and connect it with some past disappointment for the is due to that factor..
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