If you think that depression is experienced by adults alone, well, you’re wrong. Teens, tweens, young children, toddlers and even babies can suffer from this treatable mental health disorder. Yes, it is possible and it is very common too. Children, like their parents, can get extremely sad to the point of being depressed.
Is it true that young children can get depressed?
Yes, it is very possible for young children to get depressed. It’s not normal for a young child to be sad, lonely, irritable and cranky for the entire day. They would cry for a few minutes if they are sad and will be laughing soon after that. It’s the normal mood cycle for children. But if their sadness or extreme bad mood extends for hours during the day and happens almost every day, then, you’ll know that there is really something wrong.
What are the causes of depression in children?
According to Simon Rego, PsyD, “Depression symptoms are particularly troubling if someone displays more than one, or if they persist for more than two weeks,” There are three possible causes of depression in children and that includes family medical history, the child’s home and social environment, and the child’s physical changes. This means that the reasons why a young and innocent child may have this type of mental disorder is because there are major things in his or her life that are not in a good place.
For example, his or her mother or father may also be clinically depressed. Another thing for a child to be depressed is through his or her sickness. If he or she is severely ill and won’t be able to play with other kids or go out, then, there is a big chance that the child could get depressed. It can also be through a brain hormonal shift. There is an imbalance of chemicals in the child’s brain that makes him or her depressed. There are many factors that can attribute as to why and how a child can become depressed. Remember “Depression is real and painful. Just because you can’t see or touch it doesn’t make it any less real.” Charmaine J. Simmons, LPC said.
How can a toddler, with no awareness of his or her being, get depressed?
Toddlers are supposed to be happy, hyper and cheerful all the time. It is not normal for those cute little ones to be crying nonstop. If a toddler is not as energetic and is always unhappy, then, it could be that your toddler is depressed. It will then again boil down to the causes of depression in children, and yes – toddlers can get depressed too. Actually, depression has no age limit.
Is baby depression for real?
Yes. Experts on this issue believe that one out of forty children, including babies, are suffering from depression. There are two signs of baby depression – when the baby is often emotionless and has difficulty eating and sleeping. Irritability is also noticed on the small ones, as well.
How will I know if my young son or daughter has depression?
As a parent, you know your child very well. If he or she is exhibiting behavior that is out of the ordinary, then, observe it keenly. If these signs are present, your child may be depressed:
– Always angry
– Irritable all the time
– Can’t cope with rejection well
– Sudden change in eating habits
– Can’t sleep or sleeping too much
– Crying nonstop
– Can’t focus
– Always tired
– Less energized
– Complains about body aches
– Not performing well in school
– Suicidal tendencies
As a parent, how can I help my young child who is depressed?
You must reassure your child that you love him or her unconditionally. Tell your child that he or she can open up to you about anything – their happy and sad thoughts – and that you are always available to talk to him or her anytime. Vara Saripalli, PsyD says, “be supportive and let them know it is not that you think something is wrong with them, but that you want them to have some help with their current challenges. Sometimes, people who are depressed want help but don’t know how to get started.” It is also imperative for you to bring your depressed child to a psychiatrist for proper medical and psychological treatment and therapy.
Is childhood depression treatable?
The answer to this is a big YES. Depression in children, like depression in adults, can be managed and cured. In time, with proper treatment and therapy, the child will become depression-free. Within the home, certain changes need to be made like the family’s lifestyle and habits. The home must be a place of positive environment at all times.
Depending upon the severity of your child’s mental condition, he or she may be given antidepressants and medication. This can really help align the chemical imbalance inside the brain to reduce the depressive mood of your child. Studies show that 60% of depressed children who religiously took their medication improved greatly. Also, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and ITP (Interpersonal Therapy) are the best therapy solutions to treat your depressed child.