Friday, October 13, 2006

Childhood Depression

Childhood Depression

When first confronted with the concept of childhood depression, the normal reaction would be: “What does a child have to be depressed about?”
The question reveals two misconceptions most people have about childhood. The first reveals the general lack of understanding about depression. It is more than just the occasional bouts of sadness and feeling “down” when confronted with life’s difficulties. Depression is far more serious, more persistent, and can affect how we normally function.
The second misconception we have about childhood depression is that we generally believe childhood to be a happy, carefree period of our lives. And yet, we must keep in mind that children are powerless and have no control over their own lives. Now, imagine living day by day in this kind of frightening state.
When you are an adult and not suffering from depression, you always have the choice to change this state of affairs. But children are different because they do not have this choice yet, and hence the frustration that sets in as a result.
So if children, like adults, also get depressed, what causes childhood depression? Like adult depression, there is no clear-cut cause of childhood depression. There are certain risk factors in the lives children however which make them predisposed to childhood depression or could “trigger” the depressive state to set in. These risk factors include:
* Family history of mental illness or suicide
* Abuse, including physical, emotional, or sexual
* Chronic illness
* Significant family events, such as the loss of a parent to death, divorce or abandonment
It should be noted that each child is different and so the factors that lead to childhood depression may also be distinct with different causes for each one. What is important is timely identification that there is a problem so that the proper treatment plan may be adopted.
Childhood depression manifests itself through the following signs:
* Persistent sadness and/or irritability that is more extreme than a child’s oft-usual temper tantrum
* Low self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness
* Loss of interest in activities, including those previously enjoyed
* Change in appetite and marked weight loss or gain
* Change in sleep patterns, either unable to sleep or unable to stay asleep or waking up too early and unable to fall back to sleep
* Difficulty concentrating
* Anger and rage
* Headaches, stomachaches and other physical malaise seemingly without cause
* Becomes either more lethargic or more hyperactive
* Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
If the child displays many of the symptoms listed above for longer than a few weeks, then childhood depression could be a possibility. It is normal for children to feel “down” on occasion, especially if there is a perceivable cause, such as disappointment in school or loss of a loved one. But if the feelings persists and they start to interfere with the child’s normal functioning, then seek professional help.

Childhood Depression


Auto Pilot Ideas said...

One of the biggest problems with having children is the remarkable fact that they tend to be the source of parental stress. This is, obviously, the unique stress that comes from being a parent and having to worry about the fact that your kids are growing up, learning new things, living their lives their own way, and -- all too often -- figuring out things the hard way. In addition, you have to worry about your kids making the right decisions, staying out of trouble, and just generally turning into human beings just like you. Needless to say, this tends to create a lot of parental stress.

Being a parent isn't easy. After all, you are responsible for raising, instructing, and helping children as they work their way from an infant into adulthood. And even when they go off on their own, you still worry about them as they make their way through the world. Despite the fact that they move on into adulthood, you never stop being a parent and you want to make sure that they are doing okay. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done and it is not easy to let them go. Thus, you find yourself both trying to give them freedom and trying to hang on to them as they go out into the world.

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TonyF said...

I do agree with that Auto Pilot Ideas. What makes me sad is the fact that very few parents realize this before embarking on said journey.
I was channel surfing on my TV yesterday when I stumbled across this show on MTV "Pregnant at 16" or something like that. It seems pregnancy nowadays has become like a fad and parenting is regarded like adopting a pet. Unfortunately the ones to suffer the most are the innocent children.

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