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WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
Depression is the state of mind producing serious, long term lowering of enjoyment of life or inability to visualize a happy future.
WHAT IS DEPRESSION IN CHILDREN?
Children have their own share when it comes to depression. This is because they are human beings. Depression in children varies and most importantly, the root cause of depression in children is self-esteem issue, anxiety, peer pressure and most importantly, being inept in one way or the other. Thus, parents, guardian and caregiver need to watch out for depression signs in their children or wards to help them out.
HOW TO SPOT DEPRESSION IN CHILDREN
CHANGE OF MOOD: This is commonly known as mood swings. When a child who loves to laugh, talk and play suddenly finds those activities boring, as a concerned parent, such a child should be asked what the problem is. The child becomes excessively moody and they long to be left alone.
LOSS OF APPETITE: Loss of appetite is a common sign of depression in children and this is also seen in any depressed child. The child will refuse to eat or eat little. Return their lunch untouched. When a child shows this attitude, parents should not resolve into thinking maybe the child is being fed with something in school and then ignore. At this critical stage, it takes a caring heart, a listening ear and the ability for parents, wards or caregivers to create the time to speak with their children.
EXCESSIVE SLEEP: Sleeping too often can also be a sign of depression. They sleep in class, sleep in any other gathering. They tend to sleep aside refraining from playing.
AVOIDING PLAY: This is one of the easiest ways to identify depression in children. They avoid play or their playmates. A child who loves to play just finds playing not only boring but picks fault at his playmates.
WHAT SHOULD PARENTS DO WHEN THEIR CHILD IS DEPRESSED?
When the above signs are seen, the best ways to manage your child’s depression is to:
Seek help from your family physician or a therapist
Parents should become a better and a concerned listener.
COMPLICATIONS OF DEPRESSION IN CHILDREN
REOCCURRENCE: When depression is not managed or attended to properly, there is a high tendency of reoccurrence. This leads to a depressed life cycle in children’s life.
EXTREME/CHRONIC INTROVERT: Another complication of depression in children is being a chronic or extreme introvert. Children from an early age will begin to have a bad mental picture of themselves and this will affect their social lifestyle and personal and interpersonal relationship.
SUICIDAL: They have been several reports of children taking their own lives due to poor management of depression and a lack of concern from their parents OE guidance, this is why people should not neglect or ignore any depression signs shown by the children under their care.
The treatment for depression is either medication or therapy and therapeutic listening.
MEDICATION: There are anti-depressants drugs that suppress the feeling of depression but exposing children to such drugs should be managed by a healthcare professional.
THERAPY: Therapy is one of the best methods to manage depression at any age and has no side effects. Parents are advised to get a therapist for their child. Through professionalism, the therapist will employ the skills to help the child pull out of depression or help to suppress it.
LISTENING TO CHILDREN: Another form of treatment is for parents or guidance to always listen to their children. This is mostly a home form of treatment whereby the parents just listen to their child’s needs. When a child is depressed and shows the aforementioned signs, parents should ask questions, require answers and listen attentively undistracted and provide instant solutions to their child. Most times when children get to talk, it is the first step to breaking out of depression.
PREVENTION OF DEPRESSION IN CHILDREN
There are a million things to getting people depressed and this does not exempt children.
To manage depression effectively is to teach the child the power of self-love and positive affirmation. Most depression in children results from self-hate, physical defect, and peer pressure but once a child is built to realize that self-love is the best, coupled with the confirmation from the family, they will easily snap out of their depressive moods.
When a child is excessively too quiet, please note that the child may just be depressed.