So I was perusing baby center articles on 2 to 3 year olds, as one of the children that I babysit for is of this age and I like to keep up to do on what the child’s emotional and physical development milestones are. And I came across this article on depression in toddlers, which I immediately opened, since Husband and I both have a history of depression and we recognize its biological aspect; i.e. that our own children will be likely to suffer depression as well. Well, I had thought they might suffer depression, but I hadn’t looked into it too much, and then I came across this lovely tidbit:
Most experts agree that depression is caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors. Many people who are depressed have a family history of depression or other mental illness. A child who has one depressed parent, for example, has a 25 percent chance of suffering depression. If both parents have had problems with the disease, the chance goes up to 75 percent.
Wow. 75% chance that our kids will also suffer from depression. Not that I didn’t expect it, but I had held out hope that it would be less than that, or at least I hadn’t quantified it in my mind. It sucks to think that it is so likely that our kids will deal with depression, but on the other hand, we recently discussed how lucky they will be that we are experienced in the treatment of depression, and that we both know enough to recognize the signs and begin therapy and, at the appropriate age, possible prescription assistance. Husband and I are both on prozac right now, the same dose, and we both recognize it as being actually useful to helping us to carry on with our lives despite our tendencies toward depression. We both would consider ourselves to have a family history of depression, but none of our family members had previously sought treatment for the disease, at least to our knowledge. So I, at least, see the benefit of being able to recognize and aid in the treatment of the depression to be a great gift to our children that may help temper the fact that it is our genes that led them to this tendency in the first place. On the other hand, our genes are also likely to make them highly intelligent and logical, so it’s not all bad.