Yes, Depression can occur in anyone from young children to senior citizens. Depression is tough to deal with as an adult and even more so with children. Children, even teens often have trouble describing their feelings. Teens become moody and withdraw from things as part of being a teenager. Sometimes, Depression in teens can be dismissed as the child being a "typical teenager." We are going to take a look at some signs of Depression in young children and teens, behavioral changes that might be noted, and getting treatment for your child. Some hints on how to find the right therapist is also briefly discussed.
Four Categories of Potential Signs
Sadness - may cry easily, withdraw from family and friends, worry too much, and have anger outbursts.
Loss of interest - may quit sports suddenly, complaints of boredom, refusal to participate
in activities they usually like.
Anxiety - may be nervous and panicky; the source of the anxiety could be cause of their
Cognitive Signs (thinking)
Negativity - may put self down, statements such as "I know I'm going to fail."
Child may have low to no self-esteem.
Worthlessness/guilt - Obsessed with faults and failures, may magnify the depth of those,
exhibit extreme guilt and feelings of being worthless and having no value.
Hopeless/Helpless - believes nothing will change and things won't get better, there's no relief from problems (real or imagined), accepted as it's the way it is and nothing can change.
Isolation - withdrawal from family and friends, withdrawal from sports and activities as
was mentioned, may spend a lot of time in their room, may have suicidal
thoughts and/or attempts.
Changes in weight - sudden gain or loss
Changes in sleep - either getting too much or not enough along with falling asleep in school/class
Sluggish - may talk, react, or walk slower, may be less playful or active
Avoidance - withdrawal from family, friends, or activities
Clinging - may become too clingy (wanting to stay with one parent or caregiver)
refusal to let go to do activities.
Demanding - may want what they want immediately, demanding attention.
Restless - fidgety, disruptive in school, reckless behavior.
Self Injury - may cause pain to self, (burning, cutting themselves)
It is important that if you suspect your child or teen may be depressed to get help immediately. It is important to ask them questions and talk about how they may be feeling. Discuss the concept of chemical imbalance in the brain to them at their level. You can contact your local mental health agency for more detailed tips on helping your child cope with their depression. Your child's physician can also give you advice and resources. Counseling or psychotherapy may be required and even recommended.
Medications could be prescribed but be warned anti-depressants have been known to cause children up to the age 21 - to have suicidal thoughts. Your child must be monitored closely while on medication for this reason.
There is also the option to use natural means for treatment such as herbal supplementation. A specific group of herbs known to positively affect mood and other nutritive substances are combined in a formula to get the most relief possible from depressive symptoms. The advantage to herbal supplementation is that there are far fewer side effects, if there are any at all.
Depression is a hard illness to deal with, especially in children. The important thing is that you get them help as soon as possible. Know too, that the Depression is not your fault or your child's fault. It is a real physical problem and is easily treated for the most part.