Feeling restless, helpless and being engulfed in negative thoughts is becoming more common than ever. This world is changing. Close, family-ties are facing the brunt of being bombarded with deadlines, anger, frustration and complete chaos. Depression is also becoming common. But did you know depression in children is also increasing?
Do you feel your child seems disconnected and distant? Are you feeling they are keeping to themselves more often than not? These may be solid signs that something is not quite right. Childhood depression is not something to just look over. You cannot consider it to be something they will just snap out of.
It is a major mental health problem and it is okay to talk about it. In fact it is important to mention it and that is why in this article, I am going to be covering in detail all the major aspects relating to what depression really means and how depression in children needs recognition. As well as what can you do a parent and guardian to help your child.
So let’s begin:
Depression in Children: Breaking the Myth
First of all, you need to understand that depression in children is just as common as in adults. They are prone to having the complete spectrum of emotions. Which means they will be going through emotional ups and downs.
Feeling blue is not just a statement, It actually means feeling down in the dumps and not being able to pinpoint as to why. Your child may become distant from their favorite activities. And no matter how much you ask them, they won’t be able to express the reason as to why it is happening. But the key here is not to push them for an answer.
This will cause them to become even more distant from you. Give them space and allow them to know that this isn’t a very big deal- it is okay for them to feel depressed. Come to them with solution, not accusations.
So now let’s get some more insights into what depression means.
What is Depression?
It is basically a disorder in which you are feeling very sad and also hopeless. This affects how you look at the world and you completely disconnect with all that is around you.
It is something which you should consider seriously and get a proper diagnosis on. The good thing is that depression is treatable. It all comes down to realizing and getting the proper analysis done on the condition as early as possible.
Is Depression in Children Common?
Many people may not be talking about it but depression can affect children too. It is actually one of the most common health disorders that children will go through.
Did you know that about 7% of children suffer from anxiety? And around 3-4% are going through certain episodes of depression. So this is the kind of condition which people may sideline.
And the worst thing is when they try to put pressure on their children to not act in this certain way. This may even make matters worse. Children can be more expressive with their emotions but depression is something which you need to deal with in a gentle and polite manner.
Causes of Depression in Children
There may be several reasons why your child is feeling down the dumps. It is important that you identify the signs. And do something about it soon before it leads to drastic results. This would include the following concerns:
- There is drug use involved. You may not want to talk about it but if you are a parent to a teenager, chances are there is some substance abuse involved. Speak to your child. But keep the communication open and very gentle.
- Environmental factors can be a reason. This includes certain family problems. A child can feel overwhelmed. You may feel your child is not getting impacted by your fighting. But maybe they are and the only they are expressing their remorse is by completely cutting themselves off.
- Family history can also serve as a very strong reason. Have you had episodes of depression in the family? If so, it is possible that genetics is playing a role and causing you depression in children. It is not always that you are not able to raise a happy kid.
- There may be some physical illness which is making them less motivated and is pulling them down in ways that they are not even aware. If they are suffering from some kind of ailment, it is best that you sit down and talk it over. Allow them to express their concerns. And think of ways to provide solution.
- Imagine you are facing some stress in life? It is definitely going to be making you vulnerable and confused. You may want to scream your lungs out. But you try to maintain composure. But within, it is completely killing you. Now image stressful life events in your child’s life. They are also feeling completely suffocated by them. However they don’t know how to react to them as yet. So this makes them feel depressed and completely drained.
These are the major causes as to why your child may be going through such a whirlwind of emotions. Now let’s talk about the signs. These are the warning signs that something is not quite right. And you need to do something about it.
Warning Signs to Watch Out For:
Your child may be suffering from depression. And you can do something about it when you know where the problem persists. It helps to stay aware of what is happening. You can make a major difference when you keep an eye out for the problems.
Keep your check on the following and you may be able to intervene sooner. This will help your child to cope better with the problems and you can help the situation and tackle it better before it gets worse.
So know there is trouble when:
- Your child is facing certain behavioral problems at school. If the principal is calling you in, be attentive. Listen to the issues and act in proper manner. Don’t yell and start negating the child. Instead provide comfort and ensure him/her that they are in a safe space and can share anything that they wish.
- Are you noticing any difference in their eating and sleeping habits? This is a major warning sign. Make sure to speak to them what is bothering them.
- A child overcome with feelings of sadness and hopelessness means that you need to do something about it. It is not common to feel this way over the smallest of things or issues.
- Also there may be a major drop of interest in pursuing fun activities. Your child will get disassociated with anything they like.
- You will be feeling low energy levels and general tiredness over what you do.
- Mood changes is common, including feeling irritable. Don’t yell when this happens. Notice the patterns as this may be mean there is some serious reason behind it.
Is There a Treatment?
Understanding all the warning signs and what kind of issues may cause depression in children, you may worry how this all can be tackled.
But here’s the good news- it can be taken care of.
You just need to realize that there is some problem and you need to tackle it. So here are some of the treatment options which can work well for your child:
It will help your child to undergo some kind of counselling. This is basically needed to treat anxiety in children. The cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is something which aims to control the positive as well as negative behavior in children. It allows children to manage anxiety well as the root cause of concern is tackled. And healthier options to combat the condition will be given by the health experts.
In certain cases, medication makes a difference too. Some children may get prescribed to antidepressants. And that is fine and will give results. As it will allow a child to feel better and safer. This coupled with parents warmth and loving gesture allows the child to cope with the condition. It allows them to become vocal about it and thus, leads to a smooth journey towards healing and understanding.
While many consider it taboo to talk about. The fact of the matter is depression in children is not uncommon. You need to realize that it can happen to any child- even yours. Just as we feel bombarded with so many emotions and difficult situations, so can our children. The best we can do is talk to them about it. Provide a safe space where they can be themselves. And seek treatment when possible.
This article provided an overview on what a child goes through when feeling depressed. And ways to combat this situation in a better and stronger way. Remember, the first step is realizing that there is a problem. And then working towards a solution. Becoming vocal helps. Notice the warning signs and it is okay to seek a professional’s guidance. Do so before it is too late.