Depression is a mental disorder that, according to figures from the World Health Organization, affects more than 300 million people in the world.
People with depression experience sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-esteem, sleep or eating disorders, a feeling of tiredness, and lack of concentration.
Although it may be normal for children to feel sad, discouraged, or irritable or down from time to time, it is important to pay special attention if these moods are present for a long time as it could be depression. Today, there are more children diagnosed with depressive disorders.
Another sign that a child may be depressed is its negative thoughts, which include focusing on problems and mistakes, being very critical of everything, especially himself.
Causes of childhood depression:
- Biological: hereditary, biochemical, hormonal, and neuronal factors.
- Seasonal: they are those associated with season changes.
- Psychological: loss of loved ones, poor relationship with parents, self-esteem problems, etc.
- From the environment: the pressure to which children are subjected, stress, tension, etc.
Because childhood depression can manifest in different ways, and its symptoms can be confused with bad behavior or negativity, we share some recommendations that you can follow if you feel that your child may be depressed.
- Talk to your child about depression and their mood. Children can deny, ignore, or hide how they feel, so it is important to listen and offer your support.
- Talk to your pediatrician. This will help rule out possible conditions that could be causing symptoms of depression in the child, or if the pediatrician detects signs of depression, he or she will refer you to a specialist.
- Contact a mental health specialist. A child or adolescent psychiatrist or psychologist can evaluate your child and recommend treatment.
Although treatment with a therapist is important, as parents you can also help your children improve, for example, by making sure that they have a good diet, that the child gets enough sleep and that they perform constant physical activity.
It’s important to spend quality time with your children doing things you both enjoy and to always be patient and understanding.