Childhood Depression

It can be difficult to tell if a child is depressed because behaviours vary from one childhood stage to another

Childhood DepressionOnly in the past two decades has Childhood Depression been taken very seriously.

The depressed child may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that the parent may die …

Older children may sulk, get into trouble at school, be negative, grouchy, and feel misunderstood.

Because normal behaviours vary from one childhood stage to another, it can be difficult to tell whether a child is just going through a temporary “phase” or is suffering from childhood depression.

Sometimes the parents become worried about how the child’s behaviour has changed, or a teacher mentions that “your child doesn’t seem to be himself.” In such a case, if a visit to the child’s paediatrician rules out physical symptoms, the doctor will probably suggest that the child is evaluated, preferably by a psychiatrist who specialises in the treatment of childhood depression.

If treatment is needed, the doctor may suggest that another therapist, usually a social worker or a psychologist, provide therapy while the psychiatrist will oversee medication if it is needed.

Parents should not be afraid to ask questions:

  • What are the therapist’s qualifications?
  • What kind of therapy will the child have?
  • Will the family as a whole participate in therapy?
  • Will my child’s therapy include an antidepressant?
  • If so, what might the side effects be?

The National Institute of Mental Health in America has identified the use of medications for depression in children as an important area for research. The National Institute of Mental Health – supported Research Units on Pediatric Psychopharmacology (RUPPs) form a network of seven research sites where clinical studies on the effects of medications for mental disorders can be conducted in children and adolescents. Among the medications being studied are antidepressants, some of which have been found to be effective in treating children with depression, if properly monitored by the child’s physician.

Related article:

Your Child and Anxiety: School Stress Starts Early
Student Stress Starts Early. The Problem: Premature Pressure by Parents, Peers

By Daniel J. DeNoon
Published: WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Amal Chakraburtty, MD

Call it pressure. Call it great expectations. Whatever its name the result is the same: school stress.

It starts as soon as kindergarten. Children’s play turns into a competitive sport. It turns the joy of learning into a struggle to excel. It turns friends into social connections and charitable acts into a line on a resume.

In his 31 years of teaching, Richard L. Hall, Ph.D., has never seen a more stressful time. Hall is assistant headmaster of Atlanta’s Lovett School, which enrols some 1,500 students from pre-kindergarten through high school.

“It can be overwhelming,” Hall tells WebMD. “Students are put in a position of feeling they just must not stop. They are not given a sense of support. They are put in an environment where they are not accepted for themselves but only for what they are going to achieve. All this builds stress.”

Read the full article > WebMD.com

There are many things you can do to manage Depression and / or just stay healthy:

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