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6 Signs for Depression In Kids

  Signs That Your Young Child May Be Suffering From Chronic Depression People generally think of childhood as a happy, carefree time when we...


Signs That Your Young Child May Be Suffering From Chronic Depression

People generally think of childhood as a happy, carefree time when we learn about the world and aren't saddled with too much responsibility. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case, and just like adults, young children can suffer from chronic depression. It's normal for young children to have a bad day and feel sad or grouchy about something unfortunate that has happened in their life, but when these negative emotions persist for more than several weeks it's time to take action.

The first thing to do is have a chat with your child's teachers or caregivers. Highly skilled and dedicated professionals like those giving childcare in Granville will have training in child psychology and will be able to give parents insights into how their child is behaving during the day, as well as what may be going on in his or her school life. If there is a problem that is happening under their watchful eye they are your first line of defence and will do everything they possibly can to help you and your child.

The question concerned parents ask is "How do I tell if my child is just having a bad couple of days, or if they are really suffering from clinical depression?" Here are some of the signs to watch for:

    Lack of Energy - Feeling deeply depressed is sure to drain your child's energy and enthusiasm, and their effort to learn new things at home and at school might decline. They may seem tired and more willing to give up when faced with a challenge than they did before, or in some extreme cases, not even try at all.

    Moodiness - Young children suffering from depression may appear to be distracted, lonely, sad, unhappy, as well as being sometimes irritable and prone to complaining. All of these are normal emotions, but when they carry on for weeks or months there is something deeper than just a temporary bad mood happening. Watch out for unexpected bouts of tears or frequent tantrums, those are a young child's way of telling you that something is wrong!

    Lack of Enjoyment - Things that your young child formerly enjoyed might not carry their interest any more, and it might become obvious that they aren't having as much fun as they used to. They may lose interest in social activities like playing with friends or visiting loved ones, preferring to keep to themselves. A young child frequently moping around alone and not engaging with others is a sure sign of emotional distress.

    Self Criticism - Young children who are chronically depressed will often engage in critical self-talk such as "Nobody likes me", "I can't do anything right!", and "It's too hard!" This extreme lack of self-confidence and frequent disparaging of one's self is very harmful to a young child's healthy development, and must be addressed as soon as it becomes apparent!

    Changes In Diet And Sleep - Young children are often picky eaters, but a depressed child may lose all enthusiasm for foods they formerly relished, or at least tolerated with urging from a health-conscious parent, preferring to obsess on just one or two usually less than optimal choices like chips or macaroni and cheese while refusing to eat anything else. Depression also disrupts healthy sleep patterns, causing your child to want to stay up far past their bedtimes or sleep late into the morning.

The Australia National Mental Health Commission has published a National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, check for more information on their website. We hope this article helps give you a better understanding of chronic childhood depression so you can prevent its negative effects on your child's development.