There are times when children feel sad or down. Occasionally, this is normal as it is a part of growing up. However, if children are sad every day or no longer enjoy things they used to and this occurs day after day, it may be a sign that they are suffering from major depression. It is widely believed that only adults become depressed. Even children and adolescence can experience depression and studies show that it is on the rise.

Common symptoms of depression in children and teens include

There are times when children feel sad or down. Occasionally, this is normal as it is a part of growing up. However, if children are sad every day or no longer enjoy things they used to and this occurs day after day, it may be a sign that they are suffering from major depression. It is widely believed that only adults become depressed. Even children and adolescence can experience depression and studies show that it is on the rise.

  • Feeling or appearing depressed sad tearful or irritable
  • not enjoying things as much as they used to
  • Not spending less time with family or in after school activities
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Feeling tired or having less energy
  • Feeling like everything is their fault or they are not good at anything
  • Having more trouble in concentrating
  • Caring less about school or not doing as well in school
  • Having thoughts of suicide or wanting to die

Children suffering from depression may have more physical complaints, such as frequent headaches or stomach aches. While depressed teens may use alcohol or other drugs as a way of trying to feel better. No one knows the exact cause of depression. It happens when children are under a lot of stress or after losing someone close to them. Bullying and spending a lot of time using social media may be associated with depression. It can be hereditary also. Having other conditions such as attention problems, learning issues, and anxiety disorder can also put children at higher risk of depression.

Sometimes parents are unaware of their child’s depression. If you suspect your child has depression, try asking them how they are feeling or if there is anything bothering them. Sometimes when asked directly, some children say that they are unhappy or sad, others might say they want to hurt themselves, be dead or even they want to kill themselves. These statements should be taken very seriously because depressed children and teens are at increased risk of self-harm.

Types of depression and mood disorders in children

The most common type of depression and mood disorder in children include:

Major depressive disorder [MDD]:

Also called major depression, MDD is diagnosed when a child experiences severe depression that last more than two weeks.

Persistent depressive disorder [PDD]

Also called dysthymia. A child with PDD, experiences mild symptoms of depression but the symptom last for a longer time. It may be more than one year in children and two years in adults.

Adjustment disorder with depressed mood

This diagnosis describes a depressed mood that develops within three months after an upsetting or stressful event such as a death in the family or parental separation. Some adjustment difficulties are normal and expected in children; this diagnosis is only given if the difficulties are out of proportion to the triggering event and cause impairment in daily functioning.

Seasonal affective disorder [SAD]

SAD is a form of MDD with a seasonal pattern. Children with this form of depression experience symptoms primarily during the hours of shortest daylight as occur during the winter months in the Northern hemisphere

Bipolar disorder

A diagnosis of bipolar disorder describes episodes in periods of Mania, persistently euphoric or irritable mood together with an increase in goal-directed behavior. It is present most of the day nearly every day for at least a week alternative with episode 1 periods of depression. Thankfully, Bipolar disorder is rare in children.

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder DMDD

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is a mental disorder in children and adolescents characterized by a persistently irritable or angry mood and frequent temper outbursts that are disproportionate to the situation and significantly more severe than the typical reaction of same-aged peers.

Treatment Of Depression

 

Unfortunately, many times children and teen goes undiagnosed and untreated. Often, adults don’t recognize the signs of depression in young people.

Express your concerns and describe the symptoms that you are seeing. Make it clear to your child that you don’t think that they are weak or crazy. Talk about a mental health issue the same way you would discuss a physical health problem. Explain that emotional problems also need healing the same way Physical health problems do. And sometimes depression requires an exam and treatment beyond what you are able to do at home.

It is important to regularly talk with your child. You can show you care and support them by doing this thing:

  • Let them know you are there for them.
  • Always listen remain quiet so they feel like they are being heard.
  • Avoid bombarding them with questions and lectures after listening.
  • Help your child create a healthy lifestyle with regular sleep a balanced diet and exercise.
  • Gently remind your child to take his or her medicine.
  • Look past the time that his or her depression is getting worse.
  • Talk to your child or teen about substance abuse (alcohol and drugs) these substances make depression worse.
  • Keep your house set for your team by eliminating alcohol remove guns and other weapons and keep prescription medicines locked up.
  • Have a safety plan in place if your child obtains suicide or needs urgent help.

If the depression in your child exceeds two or more weeks immediately see a doctor’s advice. Your doctor can do an exam and refer your child to a specialist, this may include a counselor, therapist. psychologist or psychiatrist. Your child can talk to them about what and how they feel. Family counseling can help everyone in your family. A combination of counseling and medicine can help treat depression in most young people.