Depression in Children

Everyone feels down once in a while. It’s perfectly natural to feel sad.

There are several reasons why we feel sad. It maybe because of loss and separation, changes (like when you move from one place to another and leave someone behind), disappointments (like when you did not get something you really like), relationships (like when a pal doesn’t want to be friends with you anymore, or when family members fight) and other things like when other kids pick fights, tease you or pressure you to be like them. It’s terrible when other kids don’t support you or leave you out of group activities. Being misunderstood by people close to you can make you feel sad.

Sadness can be mixed with other feelings like anger or guilt. Sometimes, you may feel like blaming other people or blaming yourself for something that has happened. You may also feel like it’s your fault when somebody close to your dies, or gets sick or if your parents’ divorce. It’s not. Kids don’t cause these things to happen.

When is sadness a problem?

When you’ve been sad for too long, or if it hurts too deeply, making it hard for you to enjoy the good things in life, then you have what is called depression.

Signs and symptoms

  • Depression is when:
  • You feel numb or empty.
  • You feel helpless (like nothing good is ever going to happen again).
  • You feel guilty or helpless.
  • You feel unloved.
  • You are irritable and annoyed often.
  • You feel like nothing’s fun anymore.
  • You can’t keep your mind on things like schoolwork, what you are watching or reading, or you can’t remember what a book or show was about.
  • You feel tired all the time or you feel like you have no energy.
  • You don’t get enough sleep or you sleep too much.
  • You don’t eat enough or you eat too much (weight gain or weight loss).
  • You think about death or ending your life (suicide).
  • You spend too much time on your own.
  • You cry a lot, often for no reason.
  • You feel restless (like you can’t sit still).
  • You feel body pain like a lot of stomach aches, headaches or chest pains.
  • Kids may not know that they are depressed. Often it’s a parent or teacher who notices the changes in their behavior.

Cause of depression

Depression can be caused by a number of reasons. Depression can run in families. A kid who has a parent who gets depressed is more likely to suffer from depression too. A kid may feel depressed after a loss of someone close to him/her (like a parent or very close friend).

Depression can also be caused by long-lasting problems at home such as violence’s, illness, divorce or substance abuse. Depression can be caused by having experienced abuse, neglect, rape or long-term illness, burns, accidents. However, some kids get depressed for no obvious reason.

Getting help

Getting help is important for you to get better quickly. Treating depression involves talking to a person who knows all about depression. Sometimes, you have to take medicines to help cure depression. Oftentimes, it’s a combination of both talking to someone and taking medicine.

If you think you are depressed, it’s important that you talk to your parents or an adult that you trust such as a relative, your teacher, doctor, guidance counselor, coach or a close adult friend. They can help you find the right kind of treatment to make your depression go away.

A lot of cities also have mental health hotlines listed in the phonebook. You can try to contact the one in your city. Remember, you can make depression go away. There’s always someone who can help.