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Your Approach To Children and Depression

Don’t simply disregard the idea that your child may be depressed. There’s a common misconception between a child that’s feeling down and a child that’s depressed. A child that’s feeling down is sad or unhappy because of an event or even their environment. If you feel that there is nothing for the child to be sad or upset about, don’t simply assume that nothing is wrong. Depression is a very real and potentially very dangerous condition; especially in a child. Untreated depression can cause lasting damage that will cause issues through childhood and into adulthood. As a parent, if you feel that your child may be depressed it’s up to you to find your child the help he or she deserves. You also have to accept the possibility, even if you don’t want to, that there may be something wrong with your child. This does not mean that a child is damaged or that you should feel ashamed. There are many ways for a child to develop depression. Some children are at risk for depression because of predisposition. A family history of mental illness or suicide could be a causing factor. A child can also have a chemical imbalance that leads to depression. Whatever the reason, be sure that you aren’t mistaking moodiness and depression.

Understanding

Understand that childhood can be a very trying period for anyone. It’s not without its troubles or hardships. A child has more worries than you may remember. Parents sometimes forget that a child is nearly powerless and has no control over their own life yet. There are the feelings of inadequacy from parental expectations. They worry about grades and being accepted by other kids. Many things can cause anxiety, fear, and overall frustration. Even some infants have displayed symptoms of depression early on. This indicates that the depression is more likely to be caused by a family history of the illness. Each child’s form of depression can be varied. Causes and symptoms will also be different. The treatment for these children is, likewise, different for each of them.

Diagnosis

The child must be diagnosed properly if they are to be treated for depression. Their depression could be psychological or chemical or even a combination of both. The illness must be identified for correct treatment. There are symptoms to watch for if you think that your child may be suffering from depression. You can look for signs of continual sadness or irritability, signs of increased lethargy or hyperactivity, inability to concentrate, anger and rage, physical pains such as headaches and/or stomach aches, obvious changes in sleeping patterns, low self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness, loss of interest in once-loved activities, loss of appetite or binge eating, and thoughts of death or suicide. A change in a child’s behavior that seems to have no outside influence should be looked into. If your child has experienced a change in their life such as a move resulting in a change of schools or the death of a loved one, you may see a dip in their mood. If this lasts for more than a few weeks, you should consider taking them to get the situation check out. Seeing a doctor can also rule out such things as bipolar disorder. Bipolar is also known as manic depression. The symptoms for this form of depression are rapid mood swings, prolonged rages or tantrums, exaggerated ideas about their own abilities, and hyperactivity. There have been many misdiagnosis’ of bipolar disorder so if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or obsessive compulsive disorder, there have been times when the real issue lies with being bipolar.

Approach Them With Love and Understanding

You love your child and you want to make sure that you’re there for them through every step and every hardship. As the parent, you want to be able to comfort your child and make sure that they have the best and brightest future ahead of them. If you believe your child to be suffering from depression or any other emotional upset, there are ways to cope and help your child through this difficult time. Reassure them. Let them know that it’s ok to feel depressed and that people feel this way quite often. If they don’t want to talk about their problem right away, talk to them about other things until they open up. More often than not a child wants to talk about their feelings but most are afraid that what their feeling is wrong and worry that their parents won’t understand. Make time for them no matter what. Accept them for who they are because that’s really the biggest step in your ability to help them. No one is perfect. The world would be a boring place if we were.

More on: Child Mental Health Care, Depression, Other
Latest update: July 16, 2016