Although most people think of depression as an adult illness, children and teenagers can develop depression as well. Unfortunately, many children with depression go untreated because adults don’t recognize they’re depressed.
Depression is a type of mood disorder which shouldn’t be confused for sadness in a child. It’s normal for kids to feel sad, down, or irritated, or to be in bad moods from time to time. But when negative feelings and thoughts linger for a long time and limit a child’s ability to function normally, it might be depression.
Depression is not a passing mood, nor is it a condition that will go away without proper treatment.
CAUSES OF DEPRESSION IN CHILDREN?
Unlike adults, depression in children can be caused by any combination of factors, such as:
- Physical illness (such as diabetes or epilepsy)
- Stressful life events
- Environment (including family problems)
- Family history (others in the family have depression)
- Alcohol or drug use
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN KIDS WITH DEPRESSION
Every child with depression may present with a unique set of symptoms. Below are what to look out for in children with depression:
- Irritability, anger, or being “on edge”
- Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness
- Withdrawal from previously enjoyed activities as well as from friends and family
- Increased sensitivity to rejection or criticism
- Changes in appetite (either increased or decreased)
- Changes in sleep (sleeplessness or too much sleep)
- Crying or temper tantrums
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing
- Fatigue (tiredness) and low energy
- Physical complaints (such as stomach aches, headaches) that do not respond to treatment
- Reduced ability to function during activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Thoughts or talk of death or suicide
TREATMENT AND CONCLUSION
Not all depressed children will have all the above symptoms. In fact, most will have different symptoms at different times and in different settings. Although some children may continue to function reasonably well in structured environments, most kids with significant depression will suffer a noticeable change in social activities, loss of interest in school and poor academic performance, or a change in appearance.
Treatment options for children with depression are similar to those for adults and include psychotherapy (counseling), medication, or a combination of the two. The severity of symptoms often guides the mental health professional in making a recommendation for your child.
Although many antidepressants are routinely used in treating children with depression. Antidepressants must be used with caution, however, as some individuals may have no improvement or feel worse (i.e., more suicidal than when they started taking the medication).
As parents, a healthy mental mind of our children should be our greatest priority in securing and raising responsible adults for a better future in the community.
Do you have a child going through depression? Call Healthboxes on 09091111129 or 08097560000.