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Depression and anxiety in children

Depression with anxiety is the most common mental health condition in the UK and over half of people with anxiety will also have depression.

Whilst on the face of it the symptoms of anxiety and depression may seem quite different conditions, there are in fact many similarities. Research has shown that they can even cause each other.1

What is the relationship between anxiety and depression?

Anxiety is an emotion closely linked to avoidance. Children with anxiety will often shy away from new situations and may not try out new activities, often because their anxiety can leave them feeling helpless.

Depression is a condition linked to withdrawal. Depressed children will feel hopeless and lack the motivation to engage in activities. Whilst avoidance and withdrawal are not exactly the same, they are very similar and can ‘feed’ from each other.

It makes sense that if you feel unable to partake in activities and excessively worried about your performance or abilities, you may end up feeling depressed as you become more socially reclusive. Equally, if you are struggling with depression, feel emotionally numb and useless, you may end up suffering with feelings of anxiety, as you worry about everything you are not able to do or what people think about you.

What treatment is available for children and teenagers with depression and anxiety?

Treating children and teenagers who have anxiety and depression can be complicated as for effective treatment to work, psychiatrists may need to assess which condition to treat first. The symptoms can also be indicative of other conditions such as ADHD, so a full assessment by a qualified expert will ensure that you receive a complete and full diagnosis.

Effective treatments for depression and anxiety include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), other talking therapies and, in some cases, medication such as antidepressants. Read more about therapies for anxiety disorders here.

Clinical Partners help hundreds of families, like yours, every year in overcoming anxiety disorders. Call 0203 761 7026 to speak to someone today about how we can help.

1 Cole, D., Peeke, L. et al A longitudinal look at the relation between depression and anxiety in children and adolescents in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, vol 66(3) June 1998, 451-460

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