Childhood depression - Top tips for PARENTS from our Psychologist!

Info on Childhood Depression

Behavioural problems? Moodiness? Withdrawn? Dreamy? Poor school performance?  These may all be part of ‘normal’ behaviour or simply a passing phase. However, sometimes they may be symptoms of childhood depression.
Symptoms of depression in children and teenagers are not always the same as in adulthood and can easily be missed. How can YOU tell the difference? 

Our Clinical Psychologist advises how to spot childhood depression, how to tell the difference between ‘feeling blue” and being depressed and what can be done about it. Read her TOP TIPS on how parents can deal with depression in CHILDREN and TEENAGERS.

What is depression?

Depression is much more than simply feeling ‘blue’. It is a serious mood disorder that affects people of all ages including children and teenagers. It is perfectly normal for young children and teenagers to be moody, sad, misbehave or even act out occasionally. Very often, these feelings may occur as a result of the loss of a pet or changing to a new school. However, when these feelings persist longer than a few weeks or months, then there is definitely cause for concern.  At least 10% of children and teenagers suffer from depression with almost of half of them never receiving the help or treatment they need.  

1. Misconceptions about Children & Teens and Depression

It is quite common for adults to think that children and teens have no reason to be depressed. “What do children have to be depressed about?” “Kids nowadays have everything they need and want – why are they depressed?” We’ve heard parents ask these questions countless times, haven’t we? There is a general lack of understanding about depression. Firstly, the emotional spiral that is felt is different to the sadness or moodiness we may experience after a bad day at work or an argument with a friend or loved one. With the child or teenager who is suffering from depression, his or her emotions, pain and anguish are intensified – it lasts longer than the normal bout of “blues” and can be life-threatening if not treated!
Secondly, there is increased social pressure, hormonal changes and expectations on children and teenagers. All these factors increase the risk of childhood depression if it’s not dealt with appropriately.

HAVE A QUESTION related to your health?
E-mail us FREE of charge for advice, click here.

2. Know the Signs

The symptoms of depression may be different depending on the age of the child
In children:
• Sadness, withdrawal, irritability or boredom
• Loss of weight or weight gain
• Feelings of hopelessness or guilt
Difficulty concentrating
Loss of interest in activities or friends they enjoyed before
‘Oppositional’ behaviour or ‘acting out’

In teenagers:
• Sadness, withdrawal, isolation, irritability, aggressiveness and anger
• Feelings of hopelessness, despair and self-hatred
• Radical changes in daily habits – loss or increase in appetite, sleeping too little or too much, lack of energy, decline in grades 
• Loss of interest in activities
• Engaging in reckless behaviour  such as excessive drinking, drug taking, sexual encounters, harming self or others

• HAVE A QUESTION related to your health?
E-mail us FREE of charge for advice, click here.

3. What causes Childhood & Teen Depression?

Certain risk factors or triggers can dispose young people to depression:
Genetics –  a child or teen who has a parent with depression is more likely to develop this condition
Social problems, stress, traumatic events and unresolved family conflict can be linked to childhood depression
•  Children or teens with serious medical conditions, learning disabilities or behavioural problems
• Side effects of certain medications can trigger depression
Abuse of alcohol and drugs can also trigger depression

• HAVE A QUESTION related to your health?
E-mail us FREE of charge for advice, click here.

4. What You Can Do

Keep track and be aware of your child’s behaviour – take note how long they last! If you suspect that child or teen may be depressed, seek help – counselling and therapy will help them deal with their problems. If caught early, depression can be treated successfully and in most cases, both young children and teenagers respond quite well. Under no circumstances should you ignore any child or teenager who talks about suicide or wanting to die!
• Speak to your child’s teacher to find out whether  she has noticed anything unusual. It is also a good thing to investigate the possibility of bullying, especially cyber bullying which has become a problem with the advent of social media like Facebook.
• Keep communication channels open without being too intrusive.
• Consult a Clinical Psychologist who can assess your child and also offer parent counselling to help you deal with the behaviour at home. While counselling and therapy can be s tremendously helpful, research shows that often a combination of medication and therapy will have better results than either therapy or medication alone. . However, most prescription medication for depression comes with side effects and carries the risk of dependency (the so-called ‘discontinuation syndrome’). Luckily there are well-researched and effective natural anti-depressants which are a safe alternatives to prescription anti-depressants. Two such natural remedies,  MindSoothe Jr for younger children and MindSoothe for teenagers & adults will promote psychological and emotional wellbeing without the unwanted side effects of prescription drugs.  Adopting a holistic approach for your child’s mental health  can be very helpful for depression.   Your child needs to get back into the swing of things, so incorporate healthy eating, exercise, and interaction with friends and activities again. 

For those who are familiar with the amazing benefits of tissue salts, AllisOne Rescue Synergy is a wonderfully gentle yet effective help for children AND adults with depression or anxiety - and can be used alone or together with the remedies above, depending on need and severity of symptoms. 

Previous post Next Post

Comments

Leave a comment