Causes and Symptoms of Depression in Children

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Depression is a type of mental illness characterized by feelings of grief, impatience, hopelessness, and inefficiency, and sometimes, thoughts of self-destruction. Those who are under depression also experience variations in their sleeping and have difficulty concentrating on any task. A diagnosis of depression is made when symptoms persist for a few weeks or longer and interfere with a person’s ability to function normally.

Nowadays children too are suffering from depression. Too much study pressure, competition, peer pressure, consciousness about self-image and parental neglect are some of the main reasons for children falling prey to depression. Depression may also be hereditary. 


Types of depression

Children may suffer from moderate to harsh depression linked with a major depressive disorder. Depression can also be a part of mood disorders like bipolar disorder, as a result of psychosis, as part of medical conditions like hypothyroidism, or as a result of exposure to cold medications or drug abuse. There are multiple causes of depression,  and the reasons may vary from child to child. 


Causes of Depression

Psychological symptoms of depression include low self-esteem, negative body image, being excessively self-critical, and often feeling helpless when dealing with negative events. Children who have cognitive or learning problems, as well as trouble engaging in social activities, are also at a higher risk of developing depression.


Depression may be a reaction to life stresses, like trauma, including verbal, physical, or sexual abuse; the death of a loved one; school problems; being bullied, or suffering from peer pressure.


Other conditions include poverty and financial difficulties in general, exposure to violence, social isolation, parental conflict, and other causes of disruptions to family life.


The symptoms of childhood depression.

Many times, childhood depression goes unnoticed and untreated. The reason behind this is the situation is often passed off as an emotional phrase. These are some common symptoms that must be monitored in a child.

  • Changes in eating habits- either increased or decreased
  • Changes in sleeping pattern
  • Constant feelings of despair or hopelessness
  • Difficulty thinking straight
  • Weakness and low energy
  • Perceptions of uselessness or guilt
  • Disabled thinking or concentration
  • Increased consciousness to denial
  • Impatience or anger
  • Physical complaints
  • Recession from social activities
  • Thoughts of destruction or suicide
  • Emotional outbursts


What should the parents do?

Parents can help their depressed child by spending more time with them, taking them out for lunches, and by helping them do some fun activities that could lure their child out of depression. If these methods don’t work,  then parents are urged to seek mental-health evaluation for their child and follow prescribed.

Adult family members may discuss with the child’s primary-care doctor and seek mental-health services. Once the treatment begins, the family members should promote good mental health by encouraging their child to adopt a healthy lifestyle and maintain a healthy diet, get 8 hours of sleep every night, train regularly and remain socially active.

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