We often perceive mental problems, especially those as serious as depression, exclusive to adulthood only. A common justification for the viewpoint is that children have no responsibilities, and are largely sheltered, ergo, there is no reason for them to be depressed.
Many parents also tend to shrug off the idea that their child might be depressed, terming it hormones. However, this outlook is not just wrong, but even more damaging to the child’s mental health.
The disease of depression
Depression is termed as the state of hopelessness and sadness that persists for more than 2 weeks at a time. This blue mood then permeates every facet of life; from social relationships to sleep to diet, everything suffers due to depression.
Children plagued with depression are unable to carry out with their normal life chores, both school and at home. If you suspect your child has been ‘down’ for more than a fortnight, get them checked from the best child specialist in Karachi who can then evaluate your child for depression. But under no circumstances should parent defer or delay help.
Causes of depression in children
There are numerous causes of depression in children. Their surroundings, especially the environment at home plays an important part in this disease. Having abusive parents or being subjected to perpetual stress also tends to cause depression in children.
Moreover, physical ailments and family history of this disease also make the child vulnerable to depression.
Signs of depression
Depression is not to be made lightly of. It is a serious condition that gravely impacts the quality of the child’s life. Parent should hence be vigilant about the following signs of depression in children.
Lose interest in activities
Depression causes children to stay in the state of gloom all the time. As they feel sad all the time, they lose interest in the fun activities they once used to enjoy like playing with friends, reading their favorite book etc. They also interact differently when around their family as well.
Performance in school
Many a times, children who are depressed also have bad grades. Moreover, as they lose interest in generally all the activities, their extra-curricular performance also suffers from similar ill fate.
In this condition, children are overwhelmed with the feelings of sadness and hopelessness and this reflects in their behavior as well. They spectrum of emotions is pretty limited and devoid of happy emotions. Their gloom has no one particular reason or cause, it just is their default state.
Moreover, depression in children cause them to become socially withdrawn as well. Minimizing all social interaction, they also feel alienated from others and isolated in their pain. They often also experience bouts of crying as well.
Some children also become rebellious and insolent due to depression as well. It also leads to reckless behavior, in which they then indulge in vices like sex, drugs and violence.
Feelings of guilt
Children suffering from depression suffer from overwhelming amounts of guilt. They perceive everything that goes wrong due to some mistake of theirs.
Depression takes physical toll as well. It leads to lowered energy levels, tiredness and constant fatigue.
Whereas in some children, depression leads to increase in appetite, in others, it leads to suppression of appetite.
Sleep pattern changed
Depressed children either do not sleep or suffer from excessive sleeping. Both these habits lead to physical problems in the body.
Depressed children often are irritable and angry. This leads to them becoming aggressive. Essentially, they get on the warpath and damage anything and anyone they perceive to be the cause of their pain.
Alongside being hopelessness, sad, and in fragile emotional state, they also suffer from worthlessness. Their self-esteem is also damaged as well.
They believe themselves to be weak and extremely flawed. This then makes them give up all things in life; whether it be schoolwork or relationships, they just don’t bother.
Inability to focus
This mental disease also leads to inability to concentrate. So in their heads are these children all the time, that they cannot focus on things. It then impairs their performance in school as well.
Bodily aches and pains, especially stomach aches are also common in depressed children. These aches do not get better with treatment either as well.
Run away from home
Depression leads to children getting lonely and feeling worthless. Many then try to run away from home, as a cry for help.
A dangerous sign of depression are the thoughts of suicide. Because living becomes such a chore for depressed people, and the gloom becomes just too much to bear, many perceive death to be the only respite.
In extreme circumstances, children may also well very follow through with their suicidal thoughts. Hence, depression is never to be taken lightly. Parents who suspect their child to be depressed should immediately take them to the top Child specialist in Lahore for expert evaluation.