health and wellness, major depressive disorder family and friends, Treatment for depression

Children and depression

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Diagnosing depression in children

It is difficult to imagine a child suffering from the depths of depression but there are many who are diagnosed with different types of depression.  One may mistake the symptoms of depression as the child misbehaving or being lazy. When you see children acting out of sorts check for the symptoms of depression before you make a wrong judgement that could cause more harm by going without the medical care required to manage the illness. Types of depression includes:

  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Dysthymia
  • Bipolar disorder

If you are concerned talk to your family doctor of pediatrician for a diagnosis and treatment. Even though they are young the thought of suicide can occur, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from the health care professionals including counselors.  

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Symptoms of depression in children

The symptoms of depression are mostly the same as for adults, but children need extra tlc so be kind even when children are in the rottenest mood because it is the disorder talking. You may think the child is being rebellious and disrespectful when they show irritability but it is a symptom of all forms of depression. When the child is not doing their homework or is slow in the morning to get ready for school on a regular basis it could be fatigue from depression causing them to be so slow. Children may lose interest in playing with their friends, hobbies and sports. Other symptoms include:

  • Angry outbursts
  • Feeling rejected
  • Sleep troubles — over and under sleeping
  • Aches and pains
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Difficulty concentrating

Looking back, I see that doctors started to catch on to my symptoms including stomach aches when I was in grade 8 and just had my appendix taken out. I didn’t have the ability to tell them how I felt suicidal, I didn’t realize it is a medical concern, I thought it was because of a negative attitude. I told one of my friends once that I thought about suicide, but children don’t know what to do to help so I suffered alone. I missed a lot of school in grade 7 and was quite irritable; it is amazing that I had any friends. When you see symptoms please don’t ignore them because it is very painful and confusing to a child, you may save the child a lot of needless pain and suffering alone.  

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