- Mental Health
Signs And Symptoms Of Children With Depression
Normal Or Bad Behavior
Children's behavior is sometimes complicated. They have many influences that shape that behavior. Family, peers, school, television and friends they may model themselves after. When a child or adolescent shows signs of negative or emotional behavior it is important to decide if it is just normal childhood behaviors or something much deeper .
It is possible they may be experiencing depression or some other anxiety disorder. Many children and teenagers exhibit fluctuations in their behavior. Which can be a very normal part of growing up. But then there is the child who shows signs of something deeper. Like extreme shyness, violent outburst, or continual anger. If these symptoms go on for a long time it is advised to seek an intervention.
Be Aware Of Depression In Children
Some signs to look out for:
- Lack of social interest
- Low tolerance, easily frustrated
- Feeling frequently sad, hopeless, weepy or lost
- Self-destructive behavior, unprovoked anger or aggressiveness
- Difficulty with relationships
- Rejection or a sense of failure
- Dropping out of activities, a change in grades, refusing to go to school
- Running away
- Paying little attention to grooming or appearance
- Changes in sleep, eating habits, and withdrawing from family and friends.
There are many risk factors for children that may cause depression or anxiety.
- Problems with parents or care givers
- Family history of depression, suicide and other mental illness disorders
- Peer pressure
- Drug or other substance abuse
- Abuse or neglect at home
- Illness with another family member
- Shyness or poor social skills
- Divorce, separation, or a death
Depression can be a chemical imbalance of the brain. Mental illness, mood disorders or anxiety can affect anyone and that includes children. If such illness like depression is caught early, chances are high that the child will function normally while learning to live with and maintain treatment.
Facts About Childhood Depression
- Early intervention is essential to effective treatment and prevention of other problems
- Untreated depression can disappear after several months, but it often returns two-fold
- Depression untreated in children or adolescents are at a high risk for substance abuse
- There is an 80% success rate in treating depression
- Depression can happen anytime during a lifetime, but is most prevalent in adolescence
- It is estimated 80% children go untreated and under diagnosed
A Treatment Plan
There are many options for treatment when your child has been diagnosed with depression. Psychotherapy is one option that can help your child deal with depression. It is not uncommon for a psychiatrist to recommend medication for your child. The psychiatrist will want to set up a family support system that might include support groups, education about the illness and how to manage it. Professionals included in the treatment plan may include psychologists, therapists, and social workers who specialize in behavior, testing and counseling of depression.
What you can do as a parent or caregiver for your child
- If something emotional is going on with your child such as depression, keep a record of behaviors you suspect are not your child's normal behavior.
- Seek intervention. Start with a visit to your family doctor and ask for recommendations for someone who specializes in depression in children.
- Empower yourself with knowledge. Learn what you can about mental illness. Your doctor, the library, the internet has a wealth of information.
- Talk to your family and friends, reach out to support groups, whether they be face to face or on line groups, they both offer support you might need.
- Depression is not your child's fault. Let them know that.
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