Could Your Child Be Depressed?
The majority of people think depression affects only adults. Maybe you have a child at home who is suffering from depression and you might have passed it off it as bad mood, stress from school or simply attributed their mood to general growing up. Just as parents take care of the physical well being of their children, it is also important to be aware of their emotional and mental health.
Depression is a mental illness that affects our moods and in turn, our moods affect the way we act and react. When we are in a bad mood, we experience a feeling of irritability, hopelessness, anger, numbness or all of those combined. When such a state lingers for a prolonged time, it can be identified as a depression.
Recognize the signs of depression in children
In defense of parents or adult caretakers, it is not easy to recognize signs of depression in kids or teens. They go through many physical changes that affect their moods on a daily basis. Then there are factors such as peer pressure, school work, academic or sports performance. Children also generally do not prefer to talk about their feelings with their parents.
Some things to look for in children who may be suffering from depression include:
- Behavioral changes. If your child suddenly craves isolation and avoids friends or interaction with people for prolonged periods, these might be signs of depression. Notice other changes like loss of interest in their preferred fun activities, crying easily and frequently, overreacting to mild situations and angry outbursts.
- Physical changes. Sudden loss of appetite, overeating, sleep troubles, lethargy and unexplained fatigue are signs of depression. Also notice if they begin to complain of headaches and muscle aches.
- Outlook changes. If your confident child is suddenly showing signs of low self esteem or resorting to self blame, then take note as this could mean depression. In extreme cases they may have suicidal tendencies.
Recognizing signs of depression in children can be both frightening and heartbreaking. But it is important for parents to leave aside their heartache and take swift action for the sake of their children.
- Talk to your doctor or a psychologist for possible treatment methods.
- Take your child’s teachers and school counselors into confidence as they might have noticed the signs too and can offer help during school hours.
- Try talking with them but do not force it.
- Be gentle and patient with kids who suffer from depression.
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