Kids are supposed to be cranky, adamant and moody. That’s why they are kids. And, that is also why adults end up neglecting such and similar traits. There’s often a misconception amongst parents that their children barely experience stress and that it is essentially restricted to grownups. Since, most people are unaware of childhood stress, the existence of child depression is an alien subject for them all together.
The stigma on Depression has been withering off, people are opening up to the fact that they and the ones around them may suffer from it and the idea of therapy is becoming a common and almost necessary. Now that we’re all able to talk about it, share experiences and seek treatment for it, it’s about time we cover this mental health concern from all angles and talk about child depression too.
Having said that, it’s important to know that sadness is not depression and so aren’t the usual mood blues that a child experiences and displays during the growth years. At the same time, when a child has depression, it can also be disguised under these traits, which is why knowing the symptoms and identifying them is something every parent/guardian should do. The same can be comparatively difficult since children lack the ability to recognize and articulate what they’re thinking and feeling. While some may not be able to verbalize, others may simply withdraw from any help and resist acknowledging the change in them.
One main characteristic of child depression is irritability. There may be changes in eating and sleep patterns, excessive vocal outbursts and crying, mysterious body aches, decreased performance academically, social withdrawal, impaired thinking, increased sensitivity and dullness in general. It’s crucial to identify these signs and distinguishing them from the normal traits of a growing child.
Now, what causes depression in kids, you might ask? Well, the causes for adult depression almost align with that of children. Not all kids have the same upbringing, same mental aptitude, same physical and emotional capacity and strength. They are all equipped with different coping mechanisms and abilities. Hence, these features joined with family life, life events, environment, heavy life changes schooling, genetic vulnerability and biochemical disturbances may lead to depression in children.
Treatment to child depression is needless to say a trickier task than treating adult depression. Care, understanding and a lot of love are a few primary ingredients required when it comes to diagnosing and then treating a child’s depression. Since kids may be hard to read and understand, getting to the root of the problem may be challenging but that’s exactly where the understanding part steps in.
The wise thing to do in cases where a child’s depression is recognised is to seek professional help. Extend support, an open ear, love and also space for them to heal in. When a child suffers from depression, it may latch onto them as they enter adulthood even if it’s treated, which is why eradicating it from the causing root is the viable option. More so, preventing it from growing in a child’s head in the first place is what’s important in today’s time considering its epidemic nature in this country. What can be done to help here is talking about child depression just as much as we talk about adult depression now and creating awareness about it. The more people know about it, the more comfortable will children be in identifying, understanding and opening up about depressive feelings themselves. All it takes is understanding the issue first.
Written and Edited by - Akshi Ranka