Parenting Simplified – Emotionally & Mentally Happy Parents and Kids

How to Identify Childhood Depression?

Most people think that depression affects only adults and not children or teens. That is the reason why most of these cases go unnoticed and untreated. As per the American Academy of Child and Adoscelent Psychiatry, around 3% of the children in the US alone are affected by childhood depression. Their continuous depression interferes with their regular daily life and school schedules. If not treated, would result in their suicides as well. I am not scaring you here, but these are the real facts coming in newspapers regularly. Now this problem has also spread to India as well, as one can see the increase in the suicide rates among children and teenage kids. So, that’s why this blog discusses the causes and symptoms of depression in children in detail.

What are the signs Childhood Depression?

Emotional fluctuations are common in any human being. So children also can feel blue or down at times, but if a child is consistently in that low mood or blue mood for more than two weeks, then it’s an alarming situation. Generally, instead of showing their pain, kids express their irritability or anger to hide their emotional distress. So, as parents, we need to dig a little deeper to understand the reasons for their continuous irritability. Apart from this continuous irritability and sadness in kids, the following are the additional symptoms that we need to be watchful

# Noticeable changes in apetite and weight

# Inability to concentrate or complete the school work

# Consistent fatigue and tiredness

# Not able to mingle with their own family members

# Always in the blue or low mood (sad, irritable, teary, ready to cry)

# Started using negative talk more frequently

# Changes in sleep pattern

# New/unheard physical problems like stomachache, headaches, etc

# Loss of interest in usual fun activities

In few teenage kids, we can even observe the substance usage also and can identify as one of the symptoms of depression.

Now the next question that comes to mind is the root cause for this depression? In most of the cases, its either one or the other mentioned below:

  1. Family circumstances: In most cases, the depression would be driven by the surrounding situations like friends and family. Any unwanted disturbance. stress/trauma in these surroundings might result in depression
  2. Imbalance in the Brain: Imbalances in our neurotransmitters or hormones, might lead to depression as well. These imbalances may be genetic or as a result of malnutrition.
  3. Family History: If the depression is there to one or other members in the close family, then there might be chances of the child getting that gene.
  4. Peer Pressure or High expectations from near and dear: When the child is not able to meet the high expectations of near and dear or the peer pressure at school, there are chances that he might get into a depressive state.

The above-mentioned cases are just the root causes but the person going through that depression is not a weak-hearted person, he is trying to fight a lot against all the above-mentioned situations and he needs a little support from the friends and family to fight this depression

Can the depression in children be prevented?

Yes, the children with a family history of depression or the children with highly chaotic households are the ones who are at greater risk of getting into childhood depression. And it can be prevented if the experts intervene in the early stages of child development itself.

How to handle the Childhood Depression?

If the child shows either one or multiple symptoms mentioned above, then we need to consult our pediatrician immediately to get the initial evaluation done. Then, the doctor would refer us to either the clinical psychologist or a life coach based on the severity of the case.

The treatment options for depression in children are almost the same as those in adults. They include a lot of counseling and medication. If intervened at the right time, the childhood depression can be easily curable and the child could lead a happy life afterward.

The following are the some of the tips that we as parents can follow proactively to avoid our children getting into the depression.

Create a rich social life for the children, apart from the close family members. So that they can have trusted people with whom they can share their problems

Create consistent eating and sleeping patterns. A healthy body and mind are less prone to depression and other irregularities.

Make the child more emotionally intelligent and talk to him about how to handle various emotions at various points in time

Let him be a problem solver and let him fail multiple times before he can succeed. Please do not become his cushion to safeguard the kid from failures. Let the child know the pinch of failures.

Always keep the communication channels between you and your child open. Let him have the freedom to come and accept his mistakes to you. This way, you can make him understand that there is no pressure from the parent’s side on him.

As a parent, we sometimes don’t want to accept the fact that our child is depressed or having a mental health issue. It’s very important for the child to get treated at the right time by the right person so that his future life would be happier. So that’s another reason for us to build a healthy relationship with our child so that he can come and talk to us about everything and anything that bothers him. If that healthy relationship is there, then we might be able to help our children at the earliest.

How to Identify the Childhood Depression and what are the tips to handle the depression in Kids.

This post is powered by #CauseaChatter and #BlogchatterA2Z under the category of “Mental Health of Kids” by Blogchatter. You can read my earlier posts here.

24 Comments

  1. Childhood Depression is often neglected, as we never think that kids might also be suffering from it. Thanks for sharing the symptoms and also the ways to handle it. As a parent its our duty to be observant for any signal and help child to get over it.

  2. This scared me. It has become far too common in the last few years for people to ignore. The biggest mistake a parent can make is to not seek help and just assume things will settle down during such a vulnerable and dangerous period.

  3. I suffer from chronic depression for 36 years now. I cannot handle it yet. I wonder how kids will take it. I really wish no kid ever suffers from depression. But if they do parents should be very supportive and go for treatment.

  4. I agree.. Childhood depression is something which not many of us take it seriously and deny it citing some other causes but this make things even worse. You ate right in saying that child should be given responsibility and freedom to take decision this will make them a confident human being.

  5. You know dear, I was about to write on same topic for my next post for #Causeachatter. I feel making a open communication with your kids work great in resolving all sorts of mental and emotional issues.

    1. Well said Surbhi. Unfortunately, that open channel of communication is missing between most of the parents and children. Though we tend to blame it on the availability of time as the reason for this, we need to take more conscious effort to spend time with kids.

  6. Such an insightful blog. Depression is becoming so common nowadays not only in adults but in children too. being a parent, it becomes our responsibility to listen to the child and finding out “why” they’re behaving like that.

  7. OMG… didn’t know that children can suffer from depression to this extent. I used to think that children can relieve their sadness during their playtime.

    1. Yes Aditi, its a scarier issue only. Especially after working in the Sneha foundation, I came across the number of kids who are really going through childhood depression. The numbers are really mindblocking.

  8. Couldn’t agree more on this, childhood depression has always been unnoticed, by labelling it ‘bachcha ziddi ho gaya hai’. I am so glad that now such sincere series has come as a huge help in raising the awareness and alertness to handle such depression into kids.

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mommyshravmusings

Welcome to my Parenting blog, which captures my parenting journey with Shrav. Also, I list down the books I read and review here.

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