Depression is typically a condition associated with adults, but childhood depression is also a very real as well as often elusive illness. So, what is child depression? Depression in children is prevalent. If your child does display the symptoms and signs of depression, regardless of their age, it is extremely important to seek medical help as soon as possible.
What Is Child Depression? The Warning Signs
One of the most important questions relating to what is child depression, is are there something may be wrong with your child’s emotional state. Some of the typically warning signs for childhood depression may include:
- Angry outbursts
- Significant weight loss, weight gain or the inability to gain the age appropriate amount of weight
- Unexplainable sadness
- Irritable mood
- Loss of interest in the activities they once enjoyed
- Change in sleeping patterns, including difficulty falling or staying asleep and sleeping to much
- Lack of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Feelings of excessive guilt
- Difficulty concentrating
- Recurrent thoughts and/or verbalizing feelings about death and/or suicide
What Is Child Depression and How Is It Different from Sadness?
It is perfectly normal for even the happiest of children to occasionally become sad. However, there is a difference between the levels of depression and sadness. It is important to try and determine if your child is sad as a result of an environmental factor, such as the death of a pet or family member or if the child is a teenager, it may be related to a recent break-up. However, if your child seems sad all of the time and cannot seem to get over the sadness, refuses to go to school or play with friends and displays other symptoms such as problems with weight or sleeping, it may be that your child is experiencing depression.
What Is Child Depression and What Do I Do If My Child Is Depressed?
If you suspect your child may be suffering with depression, it is extremely important to seek professional help as soon as possible. There are several different ways to seek help, such as talking with your child’s pediatrician, a school counselor or a local facility that specializes in adolescent mental health. It is important to seek guidance and counseling from someone that you and your child trust and feel comfortable with. In many situations, the best place to start is by speaking your family physician or your child’s pediatrician as they will be able to provide you with recommendations of local counselors who specialize in treating children.
When you are researching mental health care providers for your child, it is important to make sure the person is a perfect fit for your child. Not all mental health professionals are the same, some treat both children and adults and they vary widely on the type of treatment they specialize in. It is important to ask questions, including what their experience is with in dealing with depressed children, what training they have gone through and the type of therapy they typically recommend. The type of treatment used is a very important process in getting your child the help they need. Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy are commonly and effectively utilized by psychologists and therapists. If your child is visiting a psychiatrist, it is important to discuss the types of medications they may prescribe and request that therapy also be utilized along with medications.
One of the most important things you can do as a parent of a child who is suffering with depression, is to be there. It is crucial for the safety and future healthiness of your child that you talk with the child regularly, about anything and everything. A child needs to know that he is being heard, so keep in mind that listening and hearing are two entirely different things. Hearing your child means you are relating to acknowledging what the child is saying. It is important that you not lash out at the child for sleeping to much, not eating correctly or not participating in normal activities. When your child displays these signs, it is extremely important to talk with the child and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
We hope you have enjoyed our guide to What is Child Depression?