When we think or hear someone talk about depression, we rarely think of children suffering from clinical depression. It is a sad fact, however, that more children are now the victims of clinical depression. Depression can occur in anyone and even children are not immune. Researchers and scientists are now doing studies to try to find out what are the factors that can cause young children to become depressed.
First, parents must decide if their child is actually depressed and this may be hard to do. Children and adults tend to cover depression with anger, not even realizing it is actually due to depression.
Some of the symptoms of depression that parents should take note of are:
1. Outbursts of anger or extreme irritability
2. The child may withdraw and lose interest in things they once enjoyed. Instead of spending time with their friends, they prefer to be alone.
3. They may become very sensitive and may cry a lot. Parents may make the mistake of thinking the child is just whining.
4. Changes may occur in both appetite and sleep patterns. They may eat more or less and will probably spend more time sleeping than normal.
5. They may have a lot of complaints about not feeling well and seem to have little energy.
6. Older children may be in danger of trying drugs or alcohol to try to self medicate and feel better.
If your child begins to show symptoms of depression it is important to first make a doctor visit, who may then determine if the child should be referred to mental counseling to seek just what is causing the child to be depressed.
There are many things that can cause a child to become depressed. One of these reasons may be a medical reason. There may be a history of family depression, which studies are now showing, may be passed from parent to child. Scientists, have now determined that a part of the brain (hippocampus) is likely to be smaller in persons who suffer with depression. The smaller hippocampus tends to create less serotonin which transmits signals or messages from the brain to the body and back.
Other causes include the child’s home enviroment as well as the school environment. Family problems such as parents fighting or any type of abuse may cause anixiety and depression in children. Children may also become depressed because of school problems and emotional stress. Bullying is a big issue in schools these days and children that are perceived as being different or has any disability are easy targets in our schools. Losing someone the child loves, such as a parent, grandparent or anyone they are close to can cause a child to be depressed.
There are many causes that may make a child become depressed. It is important that parents know the signs of depression and seek help if they think their child is showing signs of depression. Determining the causes of the depression may make their child’s future brighter and in some cases may save the child’s life as they enter their teenage years.