depression in child
Depression is one of the most common psychological/psychiatric disorders. It affects a person’s overall energy, mood, expressions of emotion and behavior. I t was generally thought that children could not become depressed. Now researchers recognize that children, like everyone else, are not immune from this insidious and dangerous disease. Because children often do not have the capacity to step back, look at themselves, and recognize that the way they’re feeling isn’t normal for them, diagnosis and treatment of depression is more difficult than for adults.
An estimated 1 out of 10 children have difficulty escaping the symptoms of depression for long periods of time.
What are symptoms and signs of depression in child?
What are the causes of child depression?
What are the treatment available for child depression?
Symptom and Sign of depression in child
Childhood depression is just as serious as adult depression. However, it is important to recognize that children have unique signs to be aware of when recognizing and diagnosing depression.
Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests
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.
Impaired thinking or concentration
Fearful, tense, anxious
Repeated rejection by other children
Drop in school performance
Doesn’t talk to other children
Repeated physical complaints without medical cause (headaches, stomach aches, aching arm or legs)
Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
Change in appetite
Change in sleep patterns
Low self-esteem or feelings or worthlessness. A child may make such statements as, “I’m bad. I’m stupid. No one likes me.”
What Causes Depression in Children?
As in adults, depression in children can be caused by any combination of factors that relate to physical health, life events, family history, environment, genetic vulnerability, and biochemical disturbance. Some of the causes of depression in child are as follows:
Separation, divorce of parents or even close relatives,
Death of a loved one; a person or a pet,
Stressful life experiences,
A negative way of viewing the world,
Social skills deficit,
Childhood depression is also associated with a family history of mood disorders and with the existence of other psychiatric conditions,
If the relative has had childhood or recurrent depression, the child is at even higher risk of developing depression,
A move from one town, or even one neighborhood, to another,
Academic, sports or athletic failure, and
Failure to live up to personal expectations.
What are the treatment for child depression?
A large number of treatment strategies have been developed for the treatment of depression. Play therapy is sometimes appropriate with younger children.
Medications for child depression
Several class of medications are used with adult populations. Major types include monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclics and SSRIs (e.g. Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Serazone, Luvox), but other classes have emerged as well. These drugs are not without side effects. These drugs have been shown to be 50-70% more effective with adults than placebos and no other treatment. Very little is know about the safe use of antidepressants with children. The risks and side effects of medications and the findings that competent therapy and counseling interventions may be more effective restrict the use of medications with children.
The kinds of psychotherapy discussed so far do not lend themselves to the treatment of young children who lack the necessary verbal skills. In practice there are fewer difficulties than might be expected, because many emotional problems of younger children are secondary to those of their parents and it is often appropiate to direct psychotherapy mainly to the parents.
A variety of psychotherapeutic techniques have been shown to be effective. There is some suggestion that cognitive-behavioral therapy may work faster. Many feel that family therapy can speed recovery and help prevent relapse. There are different styles of family therapy. Interpersonal approaches focus on relationships, social adjustment and mastery of social roles. Find more on treatment of depression in child.
Social Skills for child depression
Social skills training consists of teaching children how to engage in several concrete behaviors with others. Initiating conversations, responding to others, refusing requests, making requests, etc. Children are provided with instructions, modeling by an individual or peer group, opportunities for role playing and feedback. The object of this approach is to provide the child with an ability to obtain reinforcement from others.