Normal sadness vs. depression

Watch Video: Normal sadness vs. depression by Cara Natterson, MD, ...
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Normal sadness vs. depression

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I think every parent wants their child to grow into a happy adult. That's the goal. I think every parent recognizes that in order to have a happy adult, a child has to go through life lessons. And that often means that kids have moments of unhappiness, of sadness, of stress, of anxiety – those are all normal. And it's a tough question figuring out when that's a normal growing curve and when your child has tipped over into depression or too much sadness. So the signs that there is something wrong, and the sign that you need help for your child - hypersomnia, that means too much sleep, or insomnia – can't fall asleep. Those are very, very clear signs of depression in children. Too much eating or not eating at all – other clear signs. It really depends upon where your child started, but you're looking for a change from baseline. And then sadness, inappropriate sadness. You know, if your child is watching a movie that's not sad and they burst into tears and this happens repeatedly, your child may be sad. Some depressed children will self-identify and tell their parents they are sad. Most won't. Most are looking to be caught by their parents and identified by their parents. So this is one when you're on the fence and not sure, I'd rather you seek out help. Go to your pediatrician, share what you see, decide if you need to have your child evaluated. Identifying depression in tweens and teens is especially important, because these kids have access to medication, prescription medication and non-prescription. You don't want a depressed child to feel that they need to self-medicate in order to feel better. So don't be afraid of the conversation with your child and seek out extra help if you think you need it.

Watch Video: Normal sadness vs. depression by Cara Natterson, MD, ...

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Expert Bio

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Cara Natterson, MD

Pediatrician & Author

Cara Natterson, MD has treated thousands of children and guided their parents as well. She was a partner at Tenth Street Pediatrics in Santa Monica, California, a large group practice serving infants, children and teenagers. She now runs Worry Proof Consulting, the first of its kind pediatric practice that offers parents open-ended time to review everything from medical questions and biology basics to child development and parenting issues. Cara is also the author of several books on parenting and child health. She has a unique ability to translate cutting edge research into understandable terms for parents and their kids. More recently, Cara’s consulting has extended beyond individual families to include fortune 500 companies seeking expert advice on safety issues, child health, and crisis management.

Cara has appeared on television, in print, and on the web. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and she trained in pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco. Cara is a Board certified pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. And anyone who knows her knows that Cara is, by nature, one of the most risk-averse people on earth. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

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