Many mental illnesses are prevalent, including depression. The condition was thought to affect only adults until a few years ago. The presence of depression in children is now well known, thanks to advances in science.
The purpose of this article is to outline some useful tips on how to cope with depressive disorder in minors by reviewing the causes and symptoms. The infantile stage is marked by behavioral changes, but they are not pathological. When these changes occur, it is vital to notice them.
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Depression in Children: Causes
Two factors contribute to childhood depression. The first component of depression is organic; there is a malfunction in brain structures that leads to the condition. Additionally, environmental factors, such as severe childhood trauma, can play a role.
The chances of children who are depressed because of their parents are 2 or 4 times higher. Furthermore, there are comorbid conditions (comorbid diseases) . The condition of a child’s clinical picture can cause depression with chronic diseases.
Signs and symptoms of depression in children
In addition to personality characteristics, the warning signs of childhood depression differ depending on the stage of development that each child is in. Therefore, if you are in early childhood (0-3 years of age), second childhood (3-7 years of age), or third childhood (7-8 years of age).
Despite possible differences between cases of depression in children, the following indicators are common to all cases. The following behaviors should always be on your radar:
- Sleep disorders.
- There is a feeling of helplessness in the child’s mind (thinking he can’t do things).
- Unintentional weight loss as a result of losing appetite.
- Psychomotor responses are excessively slow.
- Chronic fatigue at school has repercussions.
- Lack of motivation and distractions result in difficulty staying focused.
- Self-harm and death are among the thoughts that pass through your head.
Children with depression and their diagnosis
Children with depression should be evaluated intensively and for a minimum of two weeks if they meet at least five of the conditions described above.
One of the most common disadvantages of diagnosing depression in kids is the possibility that depressive behaviors could be caused by other disorders. For example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) falls into this category. In either case, they would simply be defining characteristics of a person.
The concept that a trait is not synonymous with pathology cannot be underestimated. Even when afflicted with certain disorders, some people can function normally at work and at home. The intensity and prevalence of the disorder are different.
Having anxiety or feeling discouraged is perfectly normal for children in certain situations, but this behavior shouldn’t last. A pathology could otherwise be responsible.
A mental health professional must perform an objective evaluation to determine if a child suffers from depression.
How can parents support their children who are depressed?
When a child has been diagnosed with depression, steps can be taken by parents to help them. It is very important to not judge or label the child in ways that could hurt his self-esteem. Telling him he’s lazy or making comparisons between him and other infants would be unacceptable. There could be possible long-term effects of yelling at your kids. At kidsrush.com, we recommend you use the orange rhino technique to avoid yelling at your children.
It would be better to show his value through praise and rewards for what he has accomplished rather than passing judgment on the behavior. To cope with depression, a good sense of self-worth is necessary. We recommend you read our article: 21 Tips to be a good parent.
In addition to providing support, parents or caregivers may also implement the following methods:
- Keep the child’s routine structured, so he feels safe and assured in his everyday activities.
- Provide a safe environment in which the child can express his feelings and emotions, ensuring that he does not feel distressed when doing so. In this case, we should do so with a personal anecdote from our youth.
- You can vary the fun activities you do with the child each day, depending on their developmental stage.
- Don’t force yourself to finish meals at the table; make it a pleasant time.
- Exercises before bedtime can help your child to relax. You can also read stories, poems for your children to entertain them. Consistent sleep schedules are also essential. For that, you can read our article: 8 tips for getting your children to bed early.
- As long as the child enjoys the activity, practicing outdoor activities helps to improve his or her mood.
How can depression in children be treated?
A psychologist can offer professional advice regarding the management of emotions, both for a caregiver and for their infant if the child is not suffering from an organic disorder. To prevent childhood depression, family harmony is crucial.
Drugs may be prescribed by a psychiatrist when depression is caused by biological factors. Any of these settings, however, can implement psychological support.
Childhood depression can be treated with the following treatments:
- Brief therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are two examples of psychological therapies.
- The psychiatrist prescribes prescription drugs.
- An alternative to drug treatment combined with psychological therapy.
Sadness is not the same as depression
Our use of medical and psychological terms will reduce distress as we learn more responsible usage. The fact that they see their children sad every day often leads parents to believe that their children are depressed. An investigation must be conducted to determine the reason for the sadness.
We should not consider a person as depressed merely because he or she feels sad. Human beings experience sadness from their earliest days and until their final moments of life.