Depression is a mood disorder that affects more than 2-6% of people worldwide. Contrary to misconceptions, depression is not just a feeling of frustration or a condition that a person can easily get rid of. It is a chronic and clinically recognized disease that patients struggle with and overcome with great effort. Another common misconception is that this disease affects adults only. Childhood depression is real, and according to yalemedicine.org, an estimated 3.2% of children and teens show signs of diagnosed childhood depression.
The importance of learning about childhood depression
Childhood is a period in which many of us enjoy and make fond memories. Having depression in childhood puts people at risk of developing underlying mental health conditions as an adult and reduces quality of life. 1 in 15 adults per year and 1 in 6 people in their lifetime will experience depression at least once. This condition consists of prolonged periods of sadness or low mood, decreased interest in all activities, and other signs and symptoms.
It is essential for parents, teachers, and all people who work with or around children to learn about childhood depression. This awareness can save a life or help relieve someone’s pain. The first step to learning more about childhood depression is learning to recognize it. While the signs of childhood depression are similar to the symptoms of depression, they can present in different ways and are difficult to locate.
Signs of depression in childhood
Empathy is essential to understanding what a child is going through. Irritability, crying, despondency and low energy most often indicate a problem with mood and an association with depression. This condition can manifest as difficulty concentrating, behavior changes, and emotional outbursts. Other common symptoms and signs of childhood depression include:-
Feeling of worthlessness or guilt,
Or a drop in school performance.
What to do if you identify these problems in a child?
If you spot these warning signs in a child, whether it’s your child or someone else, they should recommend or get an official diagnosis quickly. If a child is diagnosed with depression, a licensed professional must decide on a treatment plan based on the child’s needs, living conditions, and other factors. Here are some of the most accessible and beneficial therapeutic treatments for children.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) Focuses on identifying and changing the behaviors and negative inner talk that fuel or cause depression. After identification, positive changes are introduced. Eventually the patient is better able to deal with the symptoms of depression, and sometimes makes a full recovery.
play therapy It is a form of treatment that works best for children. As the name suggests, this therapy works better with young children who can participate and explore their feelings through play better than talking or regular psychotherapy.
art therapy It is a therapy that consists in using art as a means of free self-expression to better understand one’s feelings. For children, art can be a means of self-expression that allows them to confront feelings of depression without feeling overwhelmed.
Depression is a clinically recognized mood disorder that affects both children and adults. Common signs of childhood depression include low mood, emotional lability, crying, and changes in sleep and appetite. Recognizing childhood depression can save a child’s life or significantly improve their quality of life. Hence, educators and parents must have the necessary mental health awareness to help the children they work with when they need it most. On that note, you can Test your mental health awareness by taking this quiz.
stay tuned Your mental health To learn more about childhood depression and other mental health conditions.