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The Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for Depression in Children

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A child could experience depression at any age. It has different causes and warning signs. Like adults, children also experience temporary periods of aloneness, from which they can recover fast. But there's an estimated 5% of children with high level of depression, affecting their every day activities at school and at home. Children who are experiencing learning or conduct disorders, loss, high levels of stress are more at risk of suffering from depression.

Misconceptions About Depression in Children

"What does she/he have to be depressed about?" This is the common statement of other people when they hear that a child is experiencing depression. Such statement exhibits two main misconceptions: (1) poor of understanding about clinical depression; and (2) childhood is a carefree, stress-free, and trouble-free part in our lives.

Clinical depression is not the same as the occasional emotional dips that everyone feels. It may appear like such blues, however, it is much more pervasive, life-threatening, and long-lasting. Unlike the normal blues, it is not necessarily due to a definite state or events in the life of a child.

With the second misconception, children likewise feel pressured and stressed out, considering the many home and school expectations, and the acceptance of and pressure from peers. Often, adults forget that children doesn't know yet how to take control of their own lives. Such state could be truly frustrating and frightening to live through day after day.

Symptoms of Depression in Children

The behavioural warning signs of a child suffering from depression are not the same as that of adults suffering from depression. The following are the signs of a child suffering from depression:

o Persistent feeling of sadness or aloneness.
o Difficulty to have fun in previously favourite things or activities.
o Significant increase in activity or irritability.
o Usual complaints of stomach aches and/or headaches which doesn't improve with treatment.
o Suicidal actions and thoughts.
o Alcohol and/or drug abuse.
o Decreased or poor performance in school.
o Inability to deal with every day obligations and activities.
o Continous poor concentration, low energy, and/or boredom.
o Changes in eating and/or sleeping patterns.
o Showing poor or troublesome conduct at at school or at home.

Causes of Depression in Children

There is no single and proven reason why children suffer from depression. Its cause is actually unknown yet. It could be due to any combination of factors related to mental, psychological, or physical conditions; family history or genetic vulnerability; life events; environment; and hormonal disturbance. Environmental and psychological aspects are: low self-esteem, loss or death of loved ones, and conflict in child-parent relationship.

Treatment for Depression in Children

Treatment must vary logically to fit the specific needs and situation of the depressed child. This is mainly because of the many variations in causes and types of depression in children. Some warning signs may simply suggest a change in conduct or habits, while more intense symptoms necessitate the expertise of a child psychologist. Treatment for this stage may include anti-depressant medications, cognitive-behavioural therapy, or a combination of these.

If you're seeking for the help of a well experienced and friendly child psychiatrist in Melbourne, visit the website of VCPS: