Depression In Infancy
Yes, babies can, and do get depressed. The clinical term for it is called Paediatric Depression. Little ones may not know how to express their feelings in words as we adults do; nor do they have much to be unhappy about; but that doesn’t mean they are incapable of being depressed, nor they’re happy at all times.
Based on a finding published in the February 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; early symptoms of mental illness can take root as early as the very first moments of life.
“Brain connectivity patterns may indicate that for some children their brains are developing along a trajectory that increases their risk for mental health symptoms as they develop,” Dr. Cynthia Rogers, co-author of the paper; who’s also a child psychiatrist at Washington University in St. Louis.
How Can We Tell If The Baby Has Depression?
Based on a clinical manual on mental health; Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood (DC: 0-3R), the following five conditions should be met in order for a diagnosis of depression to be made in an infant:
1) The emotional and behavioural pattern must represent a change from what is typical for the child;
2) A depressed or irritable mood must be present every day, for most of the day, over a period of two weeks;
3) The depressed symptoms should occur in more than one activity and within more than one relationship;
4) The symptoms must cause the child distress, impair her functioning and/or impede her development;
5) The symptoms must not be due to a general medical condition, a medication or an environmental toxin
Know that babies with pediatric depression are more likely to struggle with their mental health later in life. It’s therefore crucial for parents to be aware of any early signs of depression. If the child continues to show depressive symptoms, schedule an appointment with a mental health professional. Don’t wait.
- Pediatric Depression: An Evidence-Based Update on Treatment Interventions
- Neonatal Amygdala Functional Connectivity at Rest in Healthy and Preterm Infants and Early Internalizing Symptoms
- Is My Baby Sad? Maybe. Pediatric Depression is a Serious Health Issue.
- Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood