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Childhood Depression


Childhood depression doesn’t seem like it should exist, because the time of being a child should be filled with thoughts of family, school and friends and not worry and anxiety. Yet it’s an increasing problem in our society for many reasons. First, children are subject to the same problems as adults simply because they’re human. They suffer stress, have family problems and may be born with a predisposition towards depression due to genetics. Second, depression is now diagnosed correctly more often than it was in the past.

Childhood depression makes itself known in a number of ways. The child may experience frequent high and low emotional states. Children who are depressed often don’t want to leave the house and play with friends. Another symptom is a change in school performance. If he or she once did well in school and then loses interest, it can be a sign the child is depressed. Another frequent symptom is a lack of interest in normal activities. Early intervention is important in order to prevent progression of the disorder.

Childhood depression can be treated. Parents who think their child may be depressed can take certain steps to re-engage the child in a number of ways. The first thing you should do is try to get your child interested in something. It can be a social or athletic activity or even certain toys. Another important step to take is getting your child to talk to you regularly, but be careful of responding with only criticism. Just like in adult depression, childhood depression means the child is having problems with self esteem. Your goal is to build up feelings of self-worth so coping mechanisms are stronger.

One of the important steps you can take for treating childhood depression is working with your child to develop appropriate responses to situations. Life is always going to have those moments when you have to overcome perceived failure or difficult situations. If you child doesn’t know how to respond and only gets frustrated, then childhood depression can take hold.

When you decide your child is experiencing depression, you need to try and uncover any particular causes. For example, if he or she is having trouble at school then perhaps there’s a problem between your child and another child. Or if your child suddenly withdraws for no apparent reason, then you might need to have your child work with a therapist to investigate possible emotional or sexual abuse (there will be other signs too obviously). Another common cause of childhood depression is an unsuspected learning disability.

Many children are not good at communicating what they’re thinking or feeling. That means you have to make an extra effort to “interpret” the situation. There are many treatment options if the self-help treatments don’t work. These treatments are similar to the ones used to treat adult depression.

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