Childhood is supposed to be a time of growing and developing. It is supposed to be a time of fun and innocence, not dealing with adult issues. Unfortunately there are many children in the world who deal with adult issues. Some of the issues are inherited while some are a result of the environment they live. Depression is an adult issue that some children are dealing with that is not discussed a lot.
Depression haunts a lot of children, sometimes starting as young as six years old but unfortunately it is not diagnosed until they are teenagers. Diagnosing depression in the teenage years can sometimes be too late. As the child keeps getting older the peer pressure and cruelty of other kids gets worse. Bad teasing and rumors can spread like an ugly wildfire with today's technology. Kids text and post things on social network websites that are very mean which makes the victim feel like the whole world is against them. There have been several cases on national news where the end result of this situation was suicide or killing sprees. The key is for parents to catch the signs of depression early to catch the illness before it gets extreme.
One of the first signs is not in the child but in the parents. If one of the parents suffers from depression the child has a small chance of inheriting the illness. When both parents have depression then the chance of their child getting it is greater. Some of the other signs include but are not limited to:
1. The child is bored a lot and does not feel like doing anything.
2. The child complains about headaches and other physical pain often.
3. The child frequently does not want to go to school or anywhere else. They just want to stay at home.
4. The child may lose interest in their favorite activities like sports or music lessons.
5. The eating habits change drastically.
6. The child might begin to become more interested in death.
The best thing for parents to do is to not blame themselves and keep an eye open for drastic behavior changes. For example, if the child is always a good helper around the house and does not mind cleaning up but does not like to do it anymore. It may be that a very social, outgoing child changes to a reserved child with no more friends. The parent should pay attention to a lot of changes coupled with a constant irritated attitude. The child will constantly not be happy.
The best solution for helping a depressed child is not to deny it or put it off as puberty. It is good idea to take the child in for a psychological evaluation. The doctor will decide if the child just needs counseling or they might prescribe a light antidepressant. The parents should read and get as much information as possible about the medication. Research is still being conducted about how antidepressants affect children long-term. If the parent is not happy with the doctor's opinion then there is nothing wrong with getting a second one. The parents should not let the depressed child go without any help at all. Getting the right help will give the child a bright future.
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