#FridayFAQs – Depression in Children : Symptoms, common causes & dealing with it

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Question : I feel my daughter is suffering from depression, what can I do to get her out of it?

Our Answer: Depression is the emptiness prevalent in your mind gnawing at your insides that prolongs sometimes for no apparent reason. This problem isn’t limited to adults alone your preschooler could be a victim of depression too. According to ‘The Mental and Trauma Mental Health Report’, 4% of the children in US suffer from depression. It is integral to study the symptoms, accept that your child is battling depression and then putting progressive measures in place to help your little one emerge from it.

Glaring Signs of Depression

Behind your child’s cherubic smile the demon of depression could be casting a shadow. How does one ascertain if their child is a victim of depression? In a preschooler it isn’t as apparent as it is in an adolescent. It is a stumbling block in the process of development. It restricts your child’s natural ‘social evolution’ in the community, making them experience discomfort to adapt anywhere. It also results in stunting cognitive growth. A few of the generic symptoms pointing to depression comprise of irregular eating patterns, fretful sleep, drop in energy levels, physical ailments like an upset tummy, persistent fatigue, frequently switching mood patterns, sudden switch into a tearful, lack of participation in fun-filled activities or spurts of aggression.

There is no specific test put in place to testify a child’s depression. If you are noticing the above mentioned symptoms you could set up an appointment with either a General Pediatrician who could perhaps refer you to a mental health professional. This will be followed by you undergoing a session and filling up numerous questionnaires for the practitioner in question to be able to understand the situation.

Dispelling depression

Research has suggested few therapies to treat children include Play therapy, Psychodynamic therapy and Family therapy.
Play Therapy: Your child is too small to identify the cause of his depression the possible causes could be bottled up anger or resentment he is harboring. That’s where play therapy enables these emotions to surface and further be resolved.
Psychodynamic Therapy : Wherein you visit a therapist along with your child. The manner in which your child plays will speak of the turmoil causing the depression.
Family Therapy: Studies have shown that family intervention results in marked decrease of depression levels.

On the other end as a parent it is your duty to turn your home into a happy haven for your child to return back to normalcy. Include in his/her daily routine a time to frolic in the sun – nature has a therapeutic effect on one’s mind. Enforce a rule for the family to dine together irrespective of other commitments. It works wonders in making the child trusting of his parents and he gets a sense of security. Nutritious food and being well rested also plays a part in healing. You could also have a word with your child’s teacher.

Educational institutions work as an excellent support system and will do everything in their control to help your child out of it. Try your best to weed out any activity that stresses out your kid. Exercise caution and be patient with your child even in an instance of him throwing a temper tantrum.

Young parents are surprisingly oblivious to the fact that depression is an ailment that can be cured with the counseling and treatment. Any child could be a victim of it, but as a parent you need to understand that it is not a taboo word and educate yourself about it to help your little one cope. Be persistent in your efforts and free your child from the clutches of depression so that it doesn’t plague their future years. Offer a smile, set aside some time for cuddles, care and giggles because love is one of the best medicines to treat depression.

Happy Parenting !

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