What is Childhood Depression?
Childhood depression is not the same with every day “sadness” that is experienced by most kids as they grow. If a child feels irritable and sad, it doesn’t mean that the kid is undergoing childhood depression.
Childhood depression is characterized as sadness that is persistent. If childhood depression arises, the child will feel lonely, miserable, abandoned and insignificant. If this kind of sadness is persistent, it may disturb every aspect of the kid’s life. It disrupts the daily activities of the child such as schoolwork and peer relationship.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Childhood Depression?
Childhood depression has the following signs and symptoms:
- Changes in appetite – it may be increased or decreased
- Changes in sleep – insomnia or oversleeping
- Persistent feelings of sorrow or uselessness
- Trouble with concentration
- Having low energy
- Feelings of insignificance or remorse
- Having trouble concentrating
- Being sensitive to rejection
- Easily angered or irritability
- Physical symptoms (like headaches and stomach aches) that is unresponsive to treatment
- Decreased ability to function in with friends, at home, school or with any hobbies and other interests
- Socially removed
- Suicidal thoughts
- Crying or verbal outburst
How Is Childhood Depression Diagnosed?
When the symptoms of depression have been exhibited for around two weeks, it’s high time to make that visit to your child’s doctor to ensure that the symptoms don’t have physical origins and your child will get the right treatment. It’s also recommended to talk to a mental health doctor who specializes in children.
There aren’t any particular tests, either by medical or psychological, that can show depression. However, there are tools like questionnaires (both for children and parents) together with personal info that can help in diagnosing depression among children. At times, these questionnaires and therapy sessions can expose other issues that may have contributed to depression like OCD, ADHD and conduct disorder.
What are the Treatment for Moderate Childhood Depression?
Childhood depression can last for 6-9 months and even longer. Depression for that long without the proper treatment can out a child at risk.
Mild to moderate depression can be treated by following a depression treatment plan such as:
- Ask Help From a Health Care Provider
Childhood depression can be managed with the help of a licensed clinical social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
Which is also known as talk therapy, this kind of treatment for depression has been proven to be effective for the management of childhood depression. There are two kinds of psychotherapy which are CBT or cognitive-behavioral therapy and the ITP or interpersonal therapy. CBT demonstrates to children on changing the negative behaviors and thoughts while the ITP focuses on the relationships of the child with his/her family and peers.
- A Great Support System
According to studies, family counseling is a good addition to the treatment of childhood depression. Other means of support include encouraging regular physical activities, management of substance abuse, peer groups, and social skills training.
Peep out Deplin Review: It might help you to cope up with different types of depression.
What are the Treatment for Severe Childhood Depression?
If psychotherapy and other means of supportive treatment for childhood depression are not responding, medications such as antidepressants are occasionally used. The only issue is that the brain of a child is still developing which means that medications may not respond the same way with adults do.
Treatment methods include:
- Taking Antidepressant
Prozac is an antidepressant that is known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI. This type of antidepressants allows the brain chemical serotonin to flow through the brain, which aids in fighting depression.
- Combination of SSRI and Psychotherapy
According to studies, this depression treatment is much better as compared to using only SSRI medication or psychotherapy. In many cases of childhood depression, antidepressants are combined with other means of support therapy.
- Suicide Precaution
Basing on current studies, it has been shown that the benefits of the use of SSRIs among children undergoing depression outweighs the risk of suicide, however, children and even teen should be observed closely for suicide risk, particularly in the first few months of treatment.
To avoid relapse, many therapists may want to go on with the treatment for at least six months even after the child is much better. For persistent depression, treatment and management may go on for years.