Apr 20

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What To Do if You Suspect Your Child Has Depression

What To Do if You Suspect Your Child Has Depression

What To Do if You Suspect Your Child Has Depression

Childhood depression is an area that is so close to my heart.  Our son showed signs that something was not right when he had barely begun grade school.  Depression in general is more common than anyone thinks and I believe depression in children is also more common than anyone thinks.

Children suffer from symptoms of depression too, they just can’t put into words how they feel. These symptoms they have may not manifest themselves the way that adult depression does, but it’s definitely a problem that can be very disruptive in the child’s life as well as the family’s if not treated quickly and properly.  Depression in children can be treated successfully!

Depression in children is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as the child simply going through a phase. But if a child is exhibiting anger, sadness or mood swings on a regular or constant basis, a pediatrician should be consulted. This is especially true if the child expresses thoughts of death or suicide.

My son was only in 2nd grade when his friend moved away from his school.  I never thought that would have thrown a child into depression but it did with him.  My son was so upset that he talked like he didn’t want to live anymore. He didn’t talk suicide thankfully but he did say enough things that worried me enough and were just not normal that I asked to have him seen by a psychiatrist.   My pediatrician wasn’t sure and didn’t believe what I described was serious enough or even warranted a visit to a psychiatrist.  So I told my son’s pediatrician I would keep a diary of things he says and does for a month and give it to him to read.  If he then thought things were still normal I would back off.

A parent has to go with their gut feelings.  I was lucky because my son at an age of 7 said his head didn’t feel right.  He couldn’t explain further but a complaint like that is nothing to ignore.   So I kept  a diary ( my son did not know this ) for a month.   We had a return appointment for my son with the pediatrician.   I gave the pediatrician my diary that I had kept.   When he returned back into the room he said ” I will have an appointment made for your son to see a psychiatrist next week!”

Older children who have depression may resort to alcohol or drug use to relieve the symptoms of depression.  This is very common…and hard to decipher when kids go through that stage anyway when they want to experiment with alcohol and/or drugs.    A down turn in academic performance usually can be noticed in their grades and they may have no friends or a different set of friends who are also using drugs or alcohol.   I was so thankful that I had a clue things were not emotional right with my son before he was older.   It is difficult to navigate feelings through the teen years.

Keep in mind that children in families with a history of depression might exhibit symptoms earlier than other children.   This was true in our family since my husbands mother and brother both committed suicide.  So we were very careful to note any unusual behavior from a young age in our boys.

Children with depression are at a greater risk if they come from an abusive or hectic home environment. Tell your doctor about any problems you suspect that your child might be depressed.  Remember your child is suffering and unequiped to deal with how to explain how they feel.

A mental health evaluation will include the parents as well as the child and sometimes information is also gathered from teachers and friends to show how the child’s life has been disrupted by these symptoms. Parents and children might be given quizzes or questionnaires to fill out for evaluation purposes. Be sure and answer any and all questions honestly so that your doctor can make the best diagnosis.

Treatment options for depressed children include counseling and/or prescriptions. Parents may be counseled to make environmental changes for the good of the child. Counseling and environmental changes may be the first suggestions a doctor makes because of the risks associated with antidepressant medications.

If your child is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a type of depression that causes severe mood swings, he might be treated with a combination of methods such as counseling, antidepressants and mood stabilizers. Be sure and talk to your physician extensively if you have questions about any treatment that he recommends.

Depression seems to be on the rise in children and you should check with your health care provider if you have any reason to suspect that your child might be suffering from this disorder.

Permanent link to this article: https://inspiringwordsfromtheheart.com/suspect-child-depression/


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  1. 1
    Deb E

    Such an important post and critical for parents to pay attention when they lead such busy lives. I know my parents were both busy working and most today are but they need to check into their kid’s lives too. Some of the signals aren’t so noticeable so I know it can be tough to spot.

    1. 1.1

      So much is changing quickly with children that it is tough to spot. But if you have a gut feeling something isn’t right…better for your child to check it out. No harm done checking.

  2. 2
    Tom Bellamy

    This is very helpful! I have gone through many times of depression in my own life.

  3. 3
    Christina A.

    This is such an important topic as is one that parents often dismiss! Thank you for shedding light on it!

    1. 3.1

      Your welcome Christina A

  4. 4
    Richard Hicks

    Very good article. Kids do have depression just as adults.

    1. 4.1

      Thanks Richard!

  5. 5

    Thanks for the great article.

    1. 5.1

      Your welcome Aubrey 🙂

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