Depression isn’t typically an illness that we associate with children, but many mental health professionals believe that it should be. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), around one in every twenty children in the U.S. suffers from depression today. For parents, it’s important to understand the signs and be able to determine whether their child is simply unhappy, or whether their symptoms are a sign of something more serious. As a parent, you will, of course, hope that depression is something that your child never has to go through, at any stage in their life. However, it’s good to be aware of what to look out for, so that you can be there for your child and offer them the support that they need should they ever become depressed.
Depression Can be Genetic
If you or a close family member suffers from depression or has suffered from this mental illness in the past, then it’s worth bearing in mind that depression can run in the family. Studies show that around 25% of children with a parent who has suffered from clinical depression will experience symptoms of their own. If both parents have suffered from depression, then the risk of the child also becoming depressed rises to around 75%. However, bear in mind that even children with no history of depression in the family can become depressed.
It Can Manifest as Other Problems
Many adults who develop depression can find it difficult to manage the feelings that it causes, so for children, it can be even worse. Parents should be aware that depression in children can often manifest as different problems; it’s not enough to assume that if your child is depressed, they will simply be sad all the time. Children with depression may suddenly become more anxious and clingy, their grades at school may suffer, or they may become more irritable with their siblings and friends. It’s also worth bearing in mind that a large percentage of children who suffer from depression also suffer from other disorders, such as anxiety disorder.
Early Diagnosis and Treatment is Important
If you suspect that your child may be suffering from depression, then it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to getting a diagnosis. Taking your child to see a mental health professional who can assess them as early on as possible will help them to recover quickly since treatment can then be provided to help them manage their symptoms and get back to normal health. There are a variety of treatments available for children who are suffering from depression, including counselling, antidepressant medication, and in some cases, TMS therapy such as the depression treatment Los Angeles offered by Smart Brain and Health.
Depression is a mental illness that can affect people from all walks of life, at any point in their life. Although it is not an illness that we commonly associate with children, it’s entirely possible for a child to become depressed. As a parent, it’s important to know what to look out for and what to do to ensure your child enjoys good mental health.