Children And Depression
Every day, children and teens are laden with an onslaught of emotional pressure. With highly advanced gadgets at their disposal, they have increased access to destructive mindsets and toxic ways of life.
Furthermore, young brains undergo developmental and neurological changes that occur at remarkable rates. For this reason, children and teens are becoming the unwitting victims of an illness that afflicts millions of adults nationwide: depression.
By definition, depression is defined as a persistent state of sadness or anxiety, one which cripples the social, emotional and behavioral functioning of an individual.
As a parent, you oversee the individual safety and well being of your children. Although you are naturally attuned to your child’s state of mind, identifying the symptoms of depression can be misleading, and often, difficult to detect without a discerning, observant eye.
In fact, the depression symptoms that manifest in teens and children differ markedly from those which arise in adults.
It is critical to understand the vast spectrum of depression symptoms, and their varied manifestations. Scouring your child’s face for tinges of angst and gloom is not a sufficient means of uncovering depression.
The symptoms are far more complex than one might initially assume. While this realization may perplex and alarm you, depression is curable and reversible. Refer to the list below for more insight, if you suspect that your child or teen is suffering from this condition:
Signs Of Depression In Kids And Teens
#1 Anger And Irritation: Typically, adults with depression exhibit an perceptively sad demeanor, one which conveys hopelessness and despair.
Teens and children, however, channel their depressed mood states as irritation and anger. To the presumptuous eye, an angry teen may fit the typical adolescent paradigm. But in reality, depressed teens project their sadness as anger and irritability.
#2 Body Pains: Does your child or teen lament the presence of unexplainable body aches and pains? If a medical professional cannot identify a cause for their pain, they may suffer from depression, which can exact a great toll on the physical state of the body.
#3 Hypersensitivity: Depressed children and teens are hypersensitive to outside criticism and rejection. This is a telling sign of depression, as many sufferers react disproportionately to the stimulus that provoked their anger.
#4 Social Withdrawal: A depressed child or teen may gradually withdraw from their social circle and family. If your previously sociable teen has become a recluse, they may indicate the presence of depression.
#5 Strange Food Habits: Depression is a pervasive illness that usually gives rise to a dysfunction in one’s hunger hormone, appetite and food habits.
Eating behavior may occur at either extreme, either emerging in the form of overeating and weight gain, or under eating and weight loss.
Some depressed teens may gorge on unhealthy foods as a source of comfort. Whereas, some may cultivate a grossly pessimistic outlook and indifference to food.
#6 Lack Of Concentration: The depressed mind ruminates on thoughts of hopelessness, worthlessness, agony, negativity, and in some situations, suicide and death. Because this illness usurps control of one’s mindset, it tends to interfere with cognitive faculties.
#7 Indolence and Fatigue: Depressed teenagers and children may sleep more than usual, exhibit a deficit in energy, and display a clear indication of apathy and lethargy.
#8 Academic Issues: Depressed children and teens almost always project their internal turmoil onto their school works. If your child’s grades have suddenly plummeted without explanation, consider the possibility of depression.
How To Help
While depression is a complicated issue, you can mitigate the factors that contribute to your child or teen’s mood state. Always ensure that they affiliate with a healthy network of individuals.
If their social circle frequently subjects them to peer pressure and disparaging comments, it is highly encouraged that they seek out new friends that provide positive reinforcement.
Help your child foster confidence in their individual abilities, by enrolling them in a sport or activity they excel in. Assist them in setting attainable, academic goals so that they feel accomplished.
Obesity is closely correlated with depression, and this disease has encroached upon the child and teen population.
One of the most potent ways to avert the development of depression in your child is by nourishing them with a healthy diet.
Nutritious foods contain the building blocks for mood enhancing chemical. Furthermore, they help cultivate physical fitness and confidence, as well.
It is also critical to provide unconditional, positive regard when your child or teen needs someone to talk to.
Displaying empathy and listening to them as they voice their concerns can provide them with a viable, reliable foundation, from which they can grow and develop.