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PostHeaderIcon Helping Your Child or Teen Overcome Depression

Depression is a very real ailment that affects millions of Americans every year. Nationally recognized psychiatrists nationwide serve their communities by offering psychotherapeutic solutions for those in whom depression manifests. Although it’s typically thought of as something adults predominantly experience, depression commonly presents itself in children. Compounding this issue, it is often more difficult to diagnose in kids, especially those under the age of twelve. As a result, some kids suffer tremendously from the mental condition.

The same factors that lead to adult depression apply to children as well. These include genetic disposition, drug use, family history, physical health and life-changing events. Symptoms of childhood depression include:

•    Lingering sadness
•    Appetite changes
•    Sleep pattern changes
•    Difficulty concentrating
•    Withdrawal socially
•    Irritability
•    Guilty, worthless feelings
•    Suicidal thoughts

Mental health problems have a stigma, which may cause many parents to deny that anything could be wrong with their child. Kids whose parents are depressed are also more likely to develop symptoms. However, just because a child is depressed does not mean the parents are somehow at fault. It is crucial, though, that parents recognize it early and seek treatment.

Medical diagnosis – especially in children – can be tricky, because there aren’t any medical tests that will confirm depression. A question-and-answer session involving the child, parent(s) and the therapist is necessary. Before the condition is allowed to fester, a psychiatrist must be consulted. The risk of suicide increases dramatically for depressed children. In addition to depressive symptoms, other suicidal indicators include:

•    Isolation from family and friends
•    Talking about suicide
•    Aberrant actions (behavioral, sexual, risk-taking)
•    Drug/alcohol abuse

Overcoming the condition starts with diagnosing that there is a problem. The earlier the better, for depression doesn’t merely go away. A clinical mental health professional will dispense individual therapy, but family therapy could be recommended as well. Well-structured therapy is the ideal approach for managing the condition, although antidepressants or another type of medicine may be prescribed.

For many kids, depression manifests as a symptom of another physical or mental illness. Depression may mask bipolar disorder, ADHD, or oppositional defiance disorder, or it could arise from a physical problem such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and other diseases. The relationship between depression and physical illness works both ways. Depression can lower a person’s immunity and increase susceptibility to physical problems. Likewise, the pain or stigma from a physical illness can cause depression.

If you suspect your kid is depressed, counseling specialists are there to help. Identifying childhood depression as soon as possible is critical given its destructive effects, its connection to physical disease and the elevated risk of suicide it brings. With your love and support and the assistance of a qualified mental health professional, your child or teen can break away from the mental morass of depression and live free again.

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