Friday, May 18, 2018

Healthy Habits: Does Your Child Have Depression?

Childhood isn’t easy. Life isn’t always easy for anyone of any age. If your child isn’t constantly happy and bubbly, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong. So, how do you know if your child needs help dealing with depression? Here are some of the most common signs to watch for.
Appetite Changes
If your child isn’t hungry or eats way too much now and then, it might be due to changes in the rate they’re growing. When their appetite disturbance continues for weeks, though, it could be a symptom of depression.
Changes in Sleep Duration
Children who are depressed often sleep too much or too little. They may feel fatigued without having expended a lot of energy. Children may have headaches or stomachaches for various reasons. However, if nothing helps them feel better, the problem might be a psychological one.
Emotional Changes
Depression in children can show up as excessive crying, sadness, or hopelessness. They may be more irritable and angrier than usual. They might begin to feel worthless or excessively guilty. Depressed children tend to feel negative emotions more often.
They may also lose interest in hobbies or activities they once enjoyed. When they feel someone has rejected them, they take it very hard and may cry or isolate themselves as a result.
Social Changes
If your child develops social problems, if could be a sign they’re struggling with depression. They might have more trouble functioning at social events, in school, and at after-school activities. They may become socially withdrawn and avoid spending time with friends outside of school.
Thought Changes
You can’t always know what your child is thinking. Sometimes, though, you can infer their thoughts from what they say and how they behave. Sometimes, you can find out just by asking them.
Depressed children may have trouble concentrating or focusing on the task they’re doing. They may seem to think in a less reasonable way than they once did. If they’re talking about death a lot, they might be having thoughts of suicide.
Poor School Performance
Children who are depressed sometimes have more difficulty at school than they do when they’re depressed. While some children might spend more time studying as a way to escape social distress, others have such a hard time functioning that their grades suffer.
Drug Use
Children over 12 who are depressed are more likely to use drugs or alcohol.
What to Do When Your Child Has Signs of Depression
It can be scary to think of your child being depressed. You might feel guilty or inadequate as a parent. What you need to do is focus on their feelings and needs.
Talk to a therapist or psychologist to find out if your child’s behavior warrants treatment for depression. A psychologist can evaluate your child to determine whether the feelings they’re experiencing are typical for growing children or they’re signs of depression.
No one wants to believe their child is depressed. Yet, when you face the possibility that your child might be depressed, you can move forward to help them recover from it. They can enjoy their childhood more, and you can feel happier knowing that they’re getting the help they need!

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