Increasingly, mental health experts are learning that adult depression — feelings of worthlessness and self-blame that interfere with life — originates in youth. “Most cases of major adult depression report the onset of at least one episode in adolescence,” says Dr. Marshall Korenblum, chief psychiatrist at Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, a children’s mental health facility in Toronto.
In fact, statistics show that it strikes five percent of kids before 12 and eight to 10 percent of kids after 12. Risk factors include a family history of mental illness, abuse and neglect and the death or loss of a parent at an early age. Post puberty, girls are more likely than boys to get depression — no one is certain why. If depression is caught early and treated properly in children, 70 to 80 percent of all cases will never return, says Dr. Korenblum. On the other hand, left untreated, an equal number are likely to experience recurrent bouts in adulthood.
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