Helping a Child who is Depressed
What is childhood depression? Depression is a mental health disorder that affects adults and children around the world. Studies show that up to 1 in 33 children may be affected by depression. The number is suspected to be higher in teenagers, as many as 1 in 8. What should you do if you suspect your child is depressed? What are some treatment options and what role can you play to help your little ones cope?
Mood swings and bouts of sadness are normal and part of life- even for children. At times situations can arise that make it particularly hard for young ones to cope and they may feel sad for a time. This is perfectly natural. Even in teenagers, moodiness and being withdrawn can be normal as well.
It is important however, to keep an eye on your children. Talk to them and find out what is on their minds. If you notice that this melancholy or other symptoms are persistent for at least two weeks, make an appointment with your child's doctor to rule out childhood depression. Should your child's ability to function normally be impaired by sadness or moodiness make an appointment.
Initially it is necessary for your doctor to rule out any physical reason for the state of your child. Testing will help eliminate any illness or infections. Be open with your doctor and give as many details as you can. This can help them ascertain whether or not your child is suffering from depression. What should you do if childhood depression is confirmed? What treatments are available?
Remember to remain calm, whatever the outcome. Talk to your doctor and be sure to ask questions. Make a list if you think you will forget something. By educating yourself on depression you will better understand the disorder and be able to help your child. Treatment options are basically the same for children as for adults. Counseling and medication are the most common treatments prescribed.
What role do you play? How can you help your child? Communicating with children is a great start. Be open with them and be sure to listen carefully when they talk to you. There will be times when they will come to you with issues that may seem minor. You may not want or care to listen but it is important.
Your support will keep lines of communication open and you need this. Positive reinforcement will also go a long way in helping your young one to cope with depression. Along with that try not to overreact when mistakes are made. There may be times when it is all just too overwhelming. If you feel you cannot handle it, seek professional help. There are plenty of programs to help you and your child to cope with depression.