Are Preschool Kids Too Young to Be Diagnosed with Depression?

A recent New York Times Magazine article about kids as young as age 2 or 3 getting diagnosed with clinical depression has plenty of people talking. The story describes a 5-year-old boy, nicknamed Kiran, who never seems to find joy in the things preschool kids do, like playing with Legos or going to children's museums and amusement parks. Kiran's parents are told he has "preschool depression," a.k.a. early-onset depression.

It's a fairly new concept for kids this age to be considered clinically depressed, but more research is being done -- studies are happening at places like the Early Emotional Development Program at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis. Some experts think that diagnosing depression at such a young age could be extremely beneficial to kids, since brain makeup is still so malleable and treatment (now, usually "play therapy") has the potential to produce more dramatic results. But others worry that preschool depression could become overdiagnosed, since young kids tend to have wide-ranging emotions and some parents could mistakenly think something's wrong when their child is really completely healthy.

Do you think diagnosing depression at preschool-age could help kids? Or hurt them? Chime in below!

Like This? Read These:
- Identifying Depression in Kids
- Depression and Teens: Your Top 8 Questions Answered
- Depression in Children and Teens

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