Childhood Depression – What is it?
Childhood depression is an overpowering feeling of hopelessness, sadness and lack of self-worth. Some children sometimes feel sad , but when someone is depressed, the sadness or feeling low are so severe or relentless that they get in the way of partaking in regular pursuits.
Childhood Depression – How common is it?
Depressive illness, or what docs name major depressive disorder, occurs in 2/3% of children, although is rare under the age of eight. It becomes more usual after puberty, rising to 4 to 8 per cent of adolescents. In adolescents, depression is more common in females.
The number of children and adolescents being diagnosed with a depressive illness is on the up. This may be because of advances in mental health with the symptoms being recognised earlier, or it could be the illness is actually occurring earlier in comparison to the earlier era.
Childhood Depression – What causes it?
What brings about depression in children is somewhat of a mystery. Many factors can contribute, such as losing a loved one (or in children, a good friendship breaking up), sickness, stress, panic attacks, family problems (for example, parents who are separating or squabbling with a sibling) and problems (such as bullying) at college.
Some children are more adaptive to problems than others, so that while some survive, others become depressed. Genetics and family behaviors may partly spell out why some people are more prone to depression. It may also explain why the levels of certain brain chemicals become altered in depression.
Childhood Depression – Who’s affected?
In the early 1980s, many doctors understood children were inept of experiencing depression because they lacked the emotional maturity to feel despondent. However, most children feel down at times. At least 2% of children under 12 tussle with substantial depression, and by teenage years this has climbed to 5% – that is at least one depressed child in every class room. More than half of the adults who acquire depression say they can isolate early symptoms before the age of 20.
Childhood Depression – What are the symptoms?
There are quite a few symptoms associated to depression, which can make it tricky to identify. Common depression symptoms in children include:
* simply appearing unhappy much of the time
* headaches, stomach aches, tiredness and other physical complaints which appear to have no obvious cause
* spending a lot of time in bed but sleeping badly and waking early in the morning
* doing badly at school work
* major changes in their weight
* being unusually irritable, sulky or becoming quiet and introverted
* losing interest in favourite hobbies
* having poor self-esteem or recurrent feelings of worthlessness
* contemplating suicide
It is not always simple to spot depression in children, because they are less capable of indicating their feelings and often tend to retort to their moods in a more physical way. So, while some children are undoubtedly sad, withdrawn and tearful, others may become hyperactive bothersome bullies.
If you’re apprehensive about your child, especially if they’ve had symptoms for longer than three to four weeks, you should talk to your general practitioner. Talk to your children’s pals, too, to try to get a completely different point of view on their feelings.
If your child ever talks about suicide you should always take them seriously and get skilled advice.
Children’s threats are often dismissed as being empty or no more than attention seeking. It’s important to involve other family members and develop interaction and support within the family.
Depression is poorly comprehended but some children are more at risk, especially those who have a physical illness, have been abused, or come from a home where there is marital problems or family breakdown. However, many simpler worries can also trigger an episode of depression, such as test fears.
The mental health charity Rethink has advice tailored to some of these common causes of unhappiness.
Childhood Depression – How is it diagnosed and treated?
If you are apprehensive that your child might be depressed, chat to your physician. Prognosis is commonly based mostly on the medical history and symptoms, so your medical professional will need to speak to the child. Treatment consists of talking therapies (such as counselling or psychotherapy) and antidepressants.
Simply talking about the problems to family and friends is often a key step towards recovery.
Although children might not find this simple at first, it’s crucial to help them be aware of why they became depressed, how they can deal with the root problems in their life, and how they can develop a more positive view of their world. This usually involves some sort of psychotherapy.
Like adults, children with depression can not just ‘snap out of it‘ or ‘pull themselves together’ or ‘get on with it’. It’s a long-term problem with chapters of depression lasting, on average, eight months.
While the majority of depressed children are back to normal after a year or two, at least half are likely to become depressed again within a couple of years.
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