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Childhood depression: what to do when your child is depressed

Introduction

Childhood depression

Currently, depression is one of the most common mental disorders that plague the world’s populations. Often, many individuals mistake depression for feelings of sadness. While this is somewhat true, depression is also based on duration, and hence, blaming only sadness does not capture the full extent and complexity of the illness. Depression usually manifests itself as aggravated shifts in mood ranging from hopelessness to sadness for extended periods in adults (generally, a period of more than two weeks). In children, the symptoms include
  • Increased bouts of anger,
  • More irritable and appears sullen and withdrawn
  • Expresses boredom frequently and loss of enjoyment in fun activities
  • Too little or too much sleep
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Feelings of tiredness and difficulty concentrating on tasks
  • Suicidal thoughts
If you recognize some of these symptoms, seek help immediately. Due to many of the taboos surrounding depression, many adults fail to get the help and attention they require. This increases the harmful effects of the illness and can leave the patient feeling lost and hopeless.

Treatment

The treatment for depression is a procedure that takes time and patience. Much of this may also depend on trial and error due to the fact that no two children or people are alike; thus, what works for one person may not work for the other. Furthermore, it is always advisable to continue the treatment for as long as possible as patients may sometimes experience relapses.

1. Educate the patient

Educate the patient

When children suffer from depression, they may be ill-equipped to explain their feelings. Thus, one of the first ways you can help the patient is by assuring him or her that her feelings step from a mental illness. Not only does this help the patient talk freely about her feelings, but it also helps them understand what they are going through. It can go a long way in reducing self-blame, etc. which is key in combating the illness. Furthermore, in some cases, children may require hospitalization during bouts of suicidal thoughts. During this time, it is vital that you support the child and educate him or her about why this is the best course of treatment. It will help reduce feelings of alienation and hence help them feel supported.

2. Seek Counselling

The next step in treatment is always counseling, and the earlier you start these sessions, the better. Counselors will assess the possible causes of depression and hence be able to prescribe the right kind of treatment. Depression usually stems from factors like genetics, stress, bullying, and hormonal changes, among other things. Depending on the age and some other factors, the counselor might prescribe a play therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), etc. If you are visiting a psychiatrist, they will prescribe appropriate medications depending on the severity of the illness. Sometimes, it takes time to find the right psychologist who understands your child’s needs. Hence, you may have to make several phone calls and appointments before finding a suitable one. Do not be disheartened, however, as this is all part of the process. Try to contact Clean Recovery Centers, to get started.

3. Encourage a healthy lifestyle

This is one of the most crucial aspects when it comes to battling depression, particularly at home. A healthy lifestyle is one that encompasses proper exercise, diet, and sleep patterns. As such, you should encourage your child to take up a sport or engage in some form of physical activity. All children enjoy eating junk food, and while you should not cut this out, it is also essential that you get them to eat healthy items, like fruits and vegetables. This is also useful as the child’s medications will require them to eat a healthy diet. Finally, ensuring that your child gets enough sleep and monitoring their intake of medicines can immensely improve their overall mood.

4. Inform their school and teachers

Battling depression is never an easy task and can hugely affect a child’s performance at school. If this goes unaddressed, it may leave the child feeling more inadequate and isolated than ever. Thus, an extremely crucial step is to inform the school and the teacher about what your child is facing and come up with strategies that may help improve their performance. This could be in the form of increased time periods for submitting assignments, providing copies of notes, etc.

Conclusion

In conclusion, depression is an extremely complicated illness that makes patients prone to outbursts and relapses. As difficult as it might be, parents must have the ability to remain calm and patient during the course of the treatment. Thus, we hope that this article successfully highlights some of the key ways you can help your child get through depression.

References

How to Choose the Right Therapist for Your Child https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to-choose-the-right-therapist-for-your-child/
A New Prescription For Depression: Join A Team And Get Sweaty https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/10/22/656594050/a-new-prescription-for-depression-join-a-team-and-get-sweaty
Clean recovery centres https://www.cleanrecoverycenters.com/contact/

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