Perhaps for many of us, the most memorable stage in our life is during our childhood. Childhood life normally is full of energy, enthusiasm, and endearment in every way. However, sad to say, there are kids who actually suffer from depression as early as when they are three years old.
How would we know that a child is having a depression?
Well just like the depressed adults, their child counterparts usually have symptoms of being irritable and moody. Sleeping turns out to be difficult and the ability to focus on something becomes an evident challenge. An unexplainable change in his or her grades and a series of questionable behaviors can be observed in a depressed child. The tendency to isolate oneself because of a feeling of unworthiness is also another sign. The child will tend to withdraw from the rest of his or her peers, having low self-esteem and no interest to play. At worst, kids will have had suicidal thoughts.
However, while kids are often energetic, they can find themselves “feeling blue” under normal circumstances, posing the same symptoms as depression for a short period of time. But if the symptoms last for at least two weeks, whilst showing notable impact in their activities and his or her relationship with family and friends, the symptoms can now be classified as a depression.
Sad events such as losing someone whom the child dearly loves is traumatic even for adults. This is one of the causes of major depression for kids. A child may experience major depression more than once throughout his or her formative years though – and for many different reasons.
A less severe but chronic depression may also be experienced by a child which will last for at least two years. This form of depression is called Dysthymia.
Parents who are suffering from depression place the child at high risk of having depression as well. Compared to other known illness, depression is not selective to its victim. It affects all ages, young and old, rich and poor. However, during adolescence period, the girls will more likely develop depression than the boys.
Research on Depression
In the United States alone, research shows that depression becomes a risk factor for suicide to individuals as early as 6 to 12 years old when they are not getting treatment at all. So it’s good to intervene at the onset of such condition when possible.
In summary, depression and anxiety disorders are inevitable in life. However, one must learn to discern when it becomes serious especially for a child. It is then very important to have a healthy family relationship. Apart from this, depression can be treated the same way with anxiety. This is through cognitive-behavioral therapy and antidepressants.
But apart from all these remedies, having a healthy and loving environment is still the best way to avoid or treat depression. A child surrounded by hopeful, supportive and loving people will help a child stay positive in life in spite of the different circumstances he or she may be in.