The first association with childhood is usually happiness and a carefree spirit, but that is not always the case. It is hard to believe for some, but in reality, there is such a thing as childhood depression and it is a lot more common than most people think. However, children are very emotional. Just because a child appears to be sad, does not mean that this child is necessarily depressed. However, if the sadness is persistent day in and day out and the child strikes out socially, then it might be depression.
Some of the signs to look for that give away childhood depression are fairly obvious. You might notice that the child does not want to be friends with other children and becomes a loner. They might also be violent and cause a lot of trouble at school. A lack of interest in schoolwork or other extracurricular activities is also a symptom that you should be on the lookout for in such cases.
Even though childhood depression is a mental illness that should not be taken lightly, it is definitely a condition that is treatable.
These are some of the most common symptoms to look for if you think that your child might be depressed. Usually, a child that suffers from depression is withdrawn socially. The child is usually also very temperamental and sensitive. They are often very easily angered or upset and have a hard time concentrating, especially at school. A child that sleeps too much also might be depressed. This act of sleeping more than a normal child sleeps also means that they are usually very fatigued, tired and low on energy.
A child that is depressed might be constantly complaining about stomach pains, headaches or other problems that are physical.
One of the most common types of depression for young people is bipolar disorder. Depression might also enter into the child’s life in correlation with some other problems, such as attention deficit disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder.
As far as treatments go for childhood depression, the solutions are quite similar to those that are commonly used to treat adults who are depressed. Therapy and counseling is usually the first step in treatment, but it also comes with medication options as well usually. The main difference between the way children are treated and the way adults are treated is that the family of the child needs to actively participate in the treatment, whereas this is not as crucial a part of the therapy in adults. The family environment of the child is very important in the treatment, and many times, it is in fact one of the main reasons for the depression – especially if the child’s parents are unhappy or are constantly arguing. Unstable environments at home are one of the most common causes for childhood depression.
Usually, the doctor will recommend psychotherapy for the child first. If there are no significant results after some time spent in therapy, then the child’s doctor will probably recommend the introduction of some type of anti-depressants into the child’s therapy. The most common drug that is given to children is Prozac. It is an anti-depressant drug and it has shown to be most effective for people between the ages of eight and 18 who are clinically depressed.