Depression In Young Children


Viewing Depression In Young Children

There are many forms of depression, and while it is common to think that depression normally affects adults and adolescents, studies have revealed that depression is common in young children as well. In fact, depression in young children has been noted to begin when some children are just three years old. This presents a problem to both doctors and parents alike as it becomes increasingly difficult to diagnose depression from the common “blues” symptoms that cause most children to act up.

Depression in young children differs significantly from the normal “blues” symptoms that may be caused due to temper tantrums. Often depression symptoms in young children will revolve around feelings of hopelessness or sadness. In most cases, mood changes are also characteristic of the medical condition.

The primary symptoms of depression include constant irritability or anger, continuous feelings of hopelessness or sadness, changes in both appetite and sleeping habits, as well as vocal outbursts by the child. At times, the child may also have difficulty concentrating, as well as constant fatigue and low energy levels.

The social symptoms of depression in young children tend to be more obvious as the child interacts less with other children. Such social withdrawal symptoms also include increased sensitivity to rejection, as well as reduced ability to function during home or other social events such as extracurricular activities. It is worth noting that not all children will have all the listed depression symptoms. Thus depression in young children will most likely be diagnosed if the child has five or more symptoms for a period of more than two weeks.

As noted depression in young children can be increasingly difficult to pick up on and thus, the parent or family member has to look out for the warning signs. These warning signs include the depression symptoms listed above as well as social isolation, talk of suicide, increased acting out behaviors, frequent accidents and focus on negative themes.

Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available for depression in young children. These include prescribed medications that are safe for the child to take, as well as psychotherapy techniques that help isolate the actual cause of depression and help the child deal with it. Medication include antidepressants and mood stabilizers that help the child deal with the depression symptoms such as sadness and anger much more effectively.

Often, the therapy techniques used in the treatment of depression in young children will focus on helping the parents or family members associate better with the child in terms of noticing the triggers for depression and avoiding them. Moreover, such group therapy techniques focus on helping the family members understand the depression illness and how to better cope with it for the overall benefit of the child throughout the treatment process.