Childhood Depression

Childhood Depression
Depression is seen as a state of the mind. It is a feeling, which can happen to anyone. Usually, the sensation passes away after a while. Some specialists have described it as a mental condition. People feel sad occasionally, true. But when your sadness and feeling low become so extreme and persistent that they get in the way of your daily activities, then, you are depressed. And this is the ugly part of depression: the apathy it subjects victims to, culminating in some dangerous actions and funny dispositions.

Depression can occur at any level, but we are more particular about depression in children. Generally, depression results from pressure, stress and worries, but these are common experiences among adults. For this, it is often, though erroneously believed, that children do not experience depression, since they do not really have issues to worry about.

Although children may not have similar issues as adults, they sure do have their own problems that may trigger depression. As Dr. Trisha Macnair noted, depression in children is observed to result from peculiar family problems such as, divorce, separation, death or illness in parents or close relative, harsh discipline, abuse at school or at home, bullying and other traumatic experiences like burglary at home.

Children have sentimental attachment over people who look after them such as their parents, for instance. So, an attempt to separate them from these people could upset them and create some emotional impact. For some time, they may become self-conscious and reserved. But this feeling fades away as they grow older. However, if the parents die or leaves them for a long time, the experience of being abandoned could trigger depression.

How do you know if your child is depressed?
Depression in children can appear in many forms, difficult to spot. It is not easy to spot depression in children because they are less capable of expressing their feelings and often tend to react to their mood in a more physical way. Nevertheless, here are few symptoms you should watch out for in your child:

Mood: Check if your child appears unhappy most of the times. This could prove a sign of depression.

When a child begins to feign many health disorders such as headache, stomach ache, tiredness, vomiting and other physical complaints which appear to have no obvious cause, look well. It could be a sign.

Depression in children can manifest in terms of failure in school performance. So, when your child records an unprecedented failure, consider her state.

Other symptoms may include losing interest in favourite hobbies, having poor self-esteem, or being unusually irritable, sulky or becoming quiet and introverted.

What Causes Depression in Children?
Depression can occur in children for genetic reasons. Children are likely to develop depression if the mother suffers depression.

There is some proven evidence that depression may be genetically inspired or runs in the family.

If the mother is suffering from depression - or does not have competent parenting skills, it leaves a gap between the mother and the child, and for this, she may not be interacting effectively with her young child. This apparent lack of affection can trigger depression in the toddler.

When a child of any age sees their parents arguing or fighting, this can make them feel insecure and they may feel as if they are to blame for the rows. They could also feel as if they have to take sides in the arguments, which is confusing and hurtful.

When the parents get divorced, the feeling of divided loyalties becomes more intense and children may fear being abandoned by both parents.

One parent may turn to the child for support and start to criticise the absent partner. This can make the child feel guilty for still loving the absent parent and their feelings can trigger depression.

Worries about school work and exams are well recognized as leading to depression. Depressed children often tend to be perfectionists and have very high standards for themselves.

They may feel that if they do not score highly in exams, they are a “failure” and so need to work even harder to achieve the results they want. This added pressure can make them feel they will never be “good enough”, leading to depression.

Bullying is a common cause of depression. Sometimes, it can be difficult for parents to understand how upsetting bullying is when family rows can trigger childhood depression.

It is “only” teasing or name calling; but, it is very distressing for children and can lead to later problems in life.
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