Depression is the most common mood disorder on earth, and affects nearly everyone at some stage of his or her lives, including children. And it isn’t only bad situations or trauma that leads to depression, even the happiest child can become depressed for no discern-able reason.
One minute they are laughing and smiling, the next they are withdrawn and quiet and you have no idea what might have happened to bring it on…
It’s difficult for parents to watch their children experiencing sadness on any level, but a depressed child is almost too much to bear. The younger your child is, the more difficult it is to watch. And there is a big difference between being blue momentarily and experiencing a full-blown depression, even in children the distinction is apparent to the untrained eye.
You know your child better than anyone else does, and it’s your responsibility to ensure that your child is not suffering from a serious mood disorder that needs treatment.
If you are wondering whether your child is depressed; perhaps it’s time you equipped yourself with a few basic facts about childhood depression.
Childhood depression: symptoms
Childhood depression can manifest in many different ways, but when you notice that your child is behaving differently perhaps its time you looked a bit closer.
The following are symptoms of depression (in even the youngest children);
- Loss of interest in activities
- Poor performance at school
- Complains of pain/aches (especially those that do not respond to usual treatment or that seem ongoing).
- Changes in appetite
In teenagers, it might be even more difficult to distinguish between depression and the regular teenage mood swings that can wreak havoc with your once sunny child. And sadly, when it comes to depression, the most serious problems can arise from troubled teens, who are far more likely to successfully attempt suicide as a cry for help.
Any marked change in your child’s behavior should be taken seriously, and you’ll need to find help fast if you think your child is suffering from clinical depression. If left untreated, your child’s depression could impact on their social lives, their schoolwork and their relationships with family and friends.
Childhood depression: seeking help
With the right treatment, your child can go on to lead a productive life complete with many happy days ahead. But before you head off to your GP or psychologist, try communicating with your child. If you can gauge their own awareness of why they might be feeling down or angry perhaps you can eliminate the cause, and the depression.
Not all childhood depression is as easy to cure, and you might find yourself having to seek help out. Untreated childhood depression can cause plenty of problems in later life, problems that can be avoided by seeking out help at the first sign of problems.
Rest assured that it’s well worth the effort when you have your happy, healthy child back to their normal selves again.