Depression, which means severe despondency, was previously believed to crop up only among adults.
It was believed that children are immune to depression, since, they are yet to develop complex emotions and affectations that give rise to such a disorder.
However, the new study which targets the present generation and its subtle environments throws a different light. The study was carried out with a help of standardized criteria used to identify depression.
It reveals that children not only suffer from being depressed, but also, the rates of suicide among them seem to be going up. This trend is fast advancing with each passing generation.
Children, as young as preschoolers, are found diagnosed with symptoms of depression, which can affect
- usual developmental milestones,
- make them feel extremely lonely and
- even affect physical growth.
If affects both, boys and girl, however, symptoms of depression are found to be twice more among girls compared to the boys.
Many factors could be attributed for the rise of depression related symptoms in young children, nevertheless, family seems to be a key contributor among others. Conflicts within the family, history of depression among parents, overly critical parents leading to failure to meet expectations as well as previous case of depression in the child are all high-risk scenarios.
School, and performance therein plays a crucial role as well. Negative relationships among parents and children were attributed to the rise of anti-social behavior which further results in isolation – a key symptom of Depression.
Few of the symptoms are school going children are
- Resistance to their peers and teachers, with whom they were closer before,
- body aches of varied sort, without any apparent cause,
- reluctance in attending their school
- being quarrelsome, irritable or even being unusually quiet.
These behaviors, when noticed should be immediately be taken care of. If there is a need, an expert such as a child specialist or a psychiatrist could be well consulted.
Among adolescents, the symptoms change only for the worse. One should look out for
- Sudden weight gain or loss,
- sleeping unnecessarily
- refrain from pursuing well loved hobbies
- preferring to be alone
All these scenarios can be further made complicated by substance abuse issues. Parents/caregivers/doctors should strongly look out for suicidal tendencies which are prevalent among depression teenagers.
It is always advisable to look for various cues when the child starts to show an abnormal behaviour on a regular basis. This helps in taking preventive actions which could help the child in a long way.
A well informed psychiatrist could execute a well-designed and a carefully prepared checklist so that it takes less amount of time and diagnosis could be concluded faster.
Childhood depression is hardly different from depression among adults. Parents and carers must always keep an eye out for unwarranted irritability and mood swings as these are the very first cues among children.