A Beginners Guide to Understanding Depression in Children
As a parent or guardian, you have probably noticed that your child experiences emotional ups and downs from time to time. Feeling blue is absolutely normal for a child, however, when this sadness extends for a prolonged period of time, it can be a sign of depression.
According to https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children, about 3% of children in the United States have depression. Yet, many parents still find it very hard to find the resources they need to help them distinguish whether their children are just feeling blue or are depressed.
When a blog owner decides to write about depression in children, it could be because they want to help you get in touch with mental health professionals or connect with other guardians who are in the same predicament as you. You can always turn to these blogs when you have mental health concerns and know that you are not alone.
If you feel that your child is going through depression, start by examining your child’s symptoms. Remember, depression in children can appear different when compared to an adult and this makes it difficult to spot the signs. Understand what to look for, and it will be easier for you to identify depression symptoms and get help in time before the disease progresses further.
What Causes Depression in Children?
Can children really suffer from depression? Yes. If a child is persistently sad and this sadness interferes with their interests, school work, or their relationship with their family, then chances are they are dealing with a depressive illness. Although depression is serious, it is completely treatable and your child will be able to enjoy life once the treatment is complete.
Depression in children can be caused by several factors which include; genetic vulnerability, biochemical disturbance, and family history. Studies have shown that children born in a family with a history of depression are at high risk of getting depression. Remember, depression is not a passing mood swing that will go away with time, it is an illness that requires treatment and therefore should not be ignored.
What Are the Signs of Depression in Children?
In younger children, the primary symptoms of depression will include; sadness, mood changes, hopelessness, and social withdrawal. You may also notice that your child is more sensitive to rejection and will often have vocal outbursts or crying for no reason.
You may also notice changes in appetite and sleep patterns. Not all children will exhibit these symptoms. In fact, your child may continue to do reasonably well especially if you are in a structured environment. However, many children with significant depression will show noticeable changes such as poor performance in school and diminished interest in social activities. Some children may also start experimenting with alcohol especially if they are above the age of 12.
Where Can You Get Help?
If your child has shown depression symptoms for more than two weeks, do not ignore them. Schedule a doctor’s visit right away for the primary consultation. The mental health expert will interview you, the primary caregiver for your child, and the teacher and collect information that is very helpful in diagnosing depression in your child.
Your child’s doctor may recommend psychotherapy as the primary treatment and later move to antidepressants if there is no significant improvement. As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that your child gets treated. Take your child for all appointments and make sure that they take all the medication prescribed so that they can get better.