Depression in Children and Adolescents

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Depression and anxiety

Depression is not just a matter of the elderly in the house. It can also affect children and adolescents. In fact, according to a latest research, between 4 and 6% of minors could suffer from depression.

It is a problem that is easily confused because it reflects a partially different symptomatology from depression in adulthood.

In fact, Psychiatrists points to the following reasons for suspecting that a minor may have depression:

  • Sad or irritable mood most of the day
  • When he does not enjoy what he does and before he was happy with it
  • If you have a noticeable change in weight or in the way you eat, either a lot or a little
  • Sleeps little at night and a lot during the day
  • You no longer want to be with your closest friends or family
  • Presents problems when making decisions
  • School grades go down
  • He does not worry about his future
  • You have aches or pains even though everything is fine or have frequent thoughts about death or suicide.

Any of these symptoms can appear in children who are not depressed, but when they occur together almost every day, they are warning signs of depression, warn Psychiatrists.

There are no defined or clear symptoms for the diagnosis of depression, although it is possible to be attentive to certain behaviors. Sometimes this pathology is reflected in somatic complaints such as frequent headaches, stomach aches, the urge to vomit, for example. On other occasions, we observe restlessness, irritability, or chapters in which we urinate in the bed again, when that stage has already been overcome.

It is observed that minors may present lack of concentration, agitation, or more fatigue than usual, as well as negative and antisocial behaviors (breaking things or even burning something) , among others.

According to Psychiatrists, it is important to distinguish that these symptoms are not directly linked to episodes of depression, so whenever it is suspected that a minor may present, it is necessary to consult a professional to assess it.

The psychologist highlight that the causes that can lead to the minor’s suffering are usually linked to, family problems (parents separation, depressive history in their family, family dramas), negligence in caring for the minor (abuse or loneliness), school problems (school failure or bullying), and self-esteem problems (motivated by a negative educational style or due to parental behavior).

It is also critical to find an increase in the suicide rates in children, adolescents and young people. According to statistics, Suicide rates grew from 1.9 to 2.6 per 100,000 minors, and from 0.5 to 1.5 per 100,000, for the age groups from 10 to 14 years in boys, and from 5 to 14 years in girls, respectively.

With all this, the Psychologists recommend parents and guardians to:

Not underestimate the emotions of the minor, and give equal importance to their concerns and problems.

Never ask them to cheer themselves up, since there is no button in our brain to cheer us up, if they don’t, it’s because they can’t.

Talk calmly and with affection to the minor, with the idea of ​​creating a climate of trust. That they are supported and should share everything to better understand the problem and hence treat the underlying depression.

Show support and that they are not alone and give hope especially when we have so many non-medicine treatments and therapies for depression.

Seek the help of a professional (psychologist or psychiatrist) for a proper treatment of depression.

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