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Do you believe children as young as 3/4 can be clinically depressed?

I have read a few articles on this topic lately (and also on its connection with ADD/ADHD, but that may be an entirely seperate topic) and I was wondering other's thoughts on it. What do you think about studies that say that children as young as 3 or 4 can be clinically depressed? If not, why? If so, how do you think it should be dealt with? I personally would be leery of medicating a child that young, but what if it's the only option? I don't really know what else to say except to ask your thoughts!


Asked by imafuswb at 8:11 PM on Jul. 20, 2010 in Parenting Debate

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Answers (15)
  • I do! In fact my oldest is 4 and has an anxiety issue... He also shows signs of depression. I know another child who has been showing early signs of BiPolar disorder since she was 2... I'm BiPolar, and I was first diagnosed with depression at age 7... If anyone can "sniff" out mental illness at this point, it's me.

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 5:15 PM on Jul. 21, 2010

  • it is extremely rare for a child that young to have ANY clinically diagnosable mental illness. most children who do eventualy get diagnosed with add or adhd are NOT diagnosed till they have started school that is usually when it becomes most noticeable. in almost all cases where a child is diagnosed and medicated that young it is by a quak dr who does it for the flks cause they wanna drug thier kid up and not have to parent

    Answer by sati769leigh at 8:14 PM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • i think if a child that young is depressed there is something severely wrong in the household that needs to be adressed. i cant imagine putting my 3 yr old on anti depressants, or any drug for that matter.

    Answer by jennifer588 at 8:17 PM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • It's really very extremely rare.

    Answer by aliceinalgonac at 8:22 PM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • I would say it is more likely a child that age would be withdrawn/fail to thrive rather than "depressed" given the right circumstances-but I am sure it can happen. Abuse can cause alot of damage....and I would guess that would be the main cause. I think if there is a problem like that-the problem needs to be addressed. I would say medication should be the last resort....


    Answer by connorsmom1970 at 8:23 PM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • NO. These days people want to put a "label" on kids who are just being active, curious, upset, experimenting, whining,etc., and then giving them a "quick fix" (drugs) for calm them down. You never heard of such a thing 20-30 or more year a go. People let kids be kids and tried to guide them and teach them how to behave and ask them what was bothering them. It was good enough for us.

    That is my opinion!

    Answer by AdrianaS at 8:24 PM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • Sometimes I ask myself (Not really) why would you want to turn your child that young into a petrie dish when sometimes it cannot be helped my son had cancer and he had drugs that were putting full grown people under the table. I had him on medication for ADD and I sat down after a year and said to the doctor no. She said why and I looked at her with an are you serious look. The lesson for my kid was for us to parent him and not push him to something we had no idea of what the side affects were going to be. We started to look at our parenting or I did and I realized medication was not the answer. There has to be something to do before they medicate.


    Answer by pinkdragon36 at 8:30 PM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • I do think you might see it more in older kids these days--there is more divorce, broken homes, blended families, neglect, abuse etc...I know my son has some anxiety when it's time to go to his dad's. It's not "depression" but he certainly isn't the same kid the night before he has to go. It's hard--I am aware of it and work at it but not all families do. More and more you see people who just don't give a crap about their kids...why wouldn't they be depressed? Drugs? No, as I said before, should be the last resort. Kids need love and structure...but I do think it's a growing problem.....

    Answer by connorsmom1970 at 8:31 PM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • Absolutely kids that young can be depressed. Its those kids who are born to drug addicted mothers who are then sold to support mom's habit. Some kids are born into the worse situations & never know love of any wholesome kind. That's why I became a social worker, to help THESE kids! They're out there & usually need medication in order to deal w/ the inconsistencies in their brain levels of hormones. Luckily these extreme cases are rare or rarely heard about. Most of the kids that fall into this category aren't discovered until much later. The "parents" aren't going to seek treatment & by the time they enter school they've been taught not to talk about what happens @ "home".

    Answer by Nyx7 at 9:11 PM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • Yes my boyfriend's ex was diagnosed extremely young. I don't think being diagnosed with cliinical depression for anyone should result in medication.

    Usually if its that young I would think it was more down to an abusive upbringing as opposed to a chemical imbalance which is usually a byproduct of how one lives anyway.

    Answer by keyaziz at 1:31 PM on Jul. 21, 2010