How to Tell if My Child is Depressed

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Beyond the regular “blues,” children often suffer from clinical depression. They tend to become unusually irritable, angry, or quiet, which disrupts their lives. Worldwide, 10%-20% of the children experience psychological disorders and depression is often called the “common cold” of mental illnesses. In fact, 3 in 4 children aged 3-17 with depression also suffer from anxiety and 1 in 2 has behavioral issues, according to an article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If left untreated, such conditions can severely influence the potential to live a fulfilling life.

Fortunately, depression is treatable and can help the child get life back on track. Professionals offer Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), meditation, mindfulness training and interpersonal therapy techniques to relieve depression among children, according to experts at the Institute For Personal Growth. But how do you know whether your child is suffering? Take a look at the various ways in which they might act out under the shadow of depression.

Low Self Esteem

The child might constantly feel that they are ugly and worthless. This triggers emotions like guilt, hopelessness, shame, failure, and lack of confidence in almost every aspect of life. They might also become indecisive or reckless and refuse to interact with friends and family.

Self-Harm

This is one of the first signs that something is terribly wrong. They can deliberately cut, burn, scratch, bite, poison or overdose themselves on drugs. These become ways to cope with the strong and painful emotions. Further, they might have suicidal thoughts or attempt to commit the act.

Lack of Energy

Depression involves the body, thoughts and mood, in a way that it impacts how a person eats, sleeps and feels about themselves, according to an article on MedicineNet. The child can exhibit unusual lethargy and loss of interest in their favorite activities. They might also refuse to go to school or feel too fatigued to meet friends outdoors. This can further lead to an increase in weight, a ripple effect of depression.

Frequent Emotional Upheaval

Regular tearfulness, sensitivity, stress, rudeness, frustration, panic attacks and restlessness are red flags to watch out for. In fact, even the most quiet and timid child might become violent and aggressive over time. On the other hand, many children reportedly say that they have been feeling “empty” or “numb.”

As a responsible parent, be patient and understanding through their therapy sessions. Your love, support and guidance can help alleviate the negative thoughts and help them emerge out of depression successfully.

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