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Depression Among Children A Matter Of Concern

A normal child’s emotions constantly change as he or she develops. A child cannot be considered as having depression just because he or she looks sad or depressed. Only if the symptoms become persistent and interfere with social activities, school work, and family life can such a conclusion be arrived at.

[su_quote class=”cust-pagination”]“Depression weighs you down like a rock in a river. You don’t stand a chance.”  ― Alysha Speer [/su_quote]

How Can You Tell Tha A Child Is Depressed?

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The symptoms of depression in a child can vary. Early medical studies masked depression where the mood of the depressed child was seen as acting out or displaying angry behavior. With these instances, children also display sadness and low mood, which is similar to depressed adults. The primary symptoms of depression, in any case, revolve around sadness, feelings of hopelessness and mood changes. They may also include any of the following:

Irritability or anger.

  • Social withdrawal.
  • Regular feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
  • Changes in appetite, which could be increased or decreased.
  • Changes in sleeping patterns.
  • Difficulties in concentrating.
  • Fatigue and low energy.
  • Vocal outbursts or crying.
  • Physical complaints which do not respond to treatments.

Not every child will have all the symptoms above. In most cases, children display different symptoms at different times depending on the settings. Some children will continue to function well, but those with chronic depression will display a noticeable change in social activities, loss of interest in school, poor academic performance, or a change in appearance. They may also begin using alcohol and drugs if they are over the age of 12.

What Causes of Depression Among Children?

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The causes of depression among children are no different than in adults. Various factors that are related to physical health, family history, genetic vulnerability, environment and biochemical disturbance have been attributed to this condition.

Children with a family history of depression are at a higher risk of becoming depressed. If the parents are suffering from depression, they are likely to develop the initial episodes of depression earlier than those children who are not facing such problems. Also, children and teenagers who are abusing substances and those who come from conflicted families are also prone to depression.

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How Is Depression Among Children Diagnosed?

If your child displays the signs of depression for a minimum of two weeks, schedule a visit with a healthcare provider. He or she will understand whether there are any physical reasons for the symptoms and ensure that the child receives adequate treatment. You should also visit a mental health care professional if the provider of the child suspects depression. There are no specific tests to identify depression in children, just as with adults.

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What Are The Treatment Options For Depression Among Children?

The treatment options for depression among children are similar to those available for adults. These include psychotherapy and medicine. The child’s environment during the treatment is different from that of adults. Therefore, the child’s health care provider may suggest psychotherapy initially and also suggest antidepressants as an additional option if the symptoms are severe. A similar theory is also adopted if no improvement is seen from psychotherapy alone. Presently, there is no evidence documenting the effectiveness of medication over therapy in children.

[su_quote class=”cust-pagination”]“Depression is real. It happens. We go through it. Hold onto yourself in those moments.”  ― Avijeet Das [/su_quote]

However, studies show that the antidepressant Prozac is effective for treating depression among children and teenagers. The FDA officially recognizes the use of Prozac for depressed children between the age of eight and 18. Most depression medications come with a warning about increasing suicidal thoughts in the patient. Therefore, it is important to monitor the intake of these medications under the expert guidance of a qualified professional.

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