Millions of adults take antidepressants to help cope with depression problems. However, depression is a serious problem for many children as well. According to data from Harvard Medical School, about 2.5% of young children and nearly 8% of teenagers suffer from some form of it. Every parent should understand the symptoms and get their child help.
Depression can affect children differently than adults. Therefore, it can be much more difficult to diagnose. Here are some common symptoms that you will want to be aware of.
Children can respond to depression in very different ways. Some may sulk and cry profusely. They may express feelings of hopelessness or suicidal ideation. Suicidal thoughts tend to be more common in adolescents, but children of all ages can suffer from them. Others may become irritable or angry more often than they used to. You can read more about these symptoms at Web MD.
Lack of Energy
Children suffering from depression may also feel drained and fatigued. This problem is often exacerbated by sleeping problems that are often caused by depression.
Depression can also have a toll on the body as well. Children may have headaches, nausea, dizziness or other physical symptoms.
Impaired Mental Acuities
Depression can affect cognitive abilities in a number of ways. Children may process things more slowly, have difficulty concentrating and face short-term memory problems. These problems can often cause their grades to slip.
Becoming a Sudden Overachiever
Some parents may be thrilled that their grades have improved or they are doing better at extracurricular activities. However, this could also be a sign that children are suffering from depression. Children with depression may also work a lot harder to excel because they are having problems with their self-esteem.
Getting Your Child Help
You will want to get your child if they are showing signs of depression. Here are some ways that you may respond:
- You may want to find a child psychologist that can treat them. Trained professionals can be more impartial about your child’s problems and have a better idea how to help them.
- You may speak to their pediatrician to see if they would benefit from using antidepressants. These medications have been shown to be very effective in helping children that are suffering from depression.
- Try to keep an open line of communication with them. Be as supportive and nonjudgmental as possible.
Seeing a child struggling from depression can be very difficult for parents. Fortunately, most children can overcome it with the proper treatment.
Rodney Sewell is a physician living in Atlanta, GA. He shares feedback on health and wellness.