Most people think that a depressive disorder is something a person experiences in the later stages of their life. This is a misconception; depression is a very real problem for children and teens also. In fact, it has been found in different studies that childhood depression can continue into adulthood. Moreover, if childhood depression is left untreated, it can lead to severe illnesses during adulthood.
The problem with depression in children is that it is difficult to notice. Of course, there are certain symptoms but most parents never relate it to depression. For instance, a child with depression may refuse to go to school, pretend to be sick, or cling to a parent. In some cases, a child may also worry a lot that a parent may die. In case of older children, symptoms may differ somewhat; they may get into trouble at school, sulk, feel misunderstood, and be negative and irritable.
As you can see, all these symptoms can easily be viewed as mood swings in children, so childhood depressive disorder often goes untreated. It is also quite pertinent to mention that depression is common in both boys and girls, but after the age of 15, girls are more vulnerable to this particular disorder. Basically, depression in children comes at a time when undergo a major personal change – the stage when they try to form an identity separate from their parents, deal with emerging sexuality, grapple with gender issues, and start making decisions in their lives.
A big problem with depression in adolescence is that it often comes with some other disorders such as disruptive behavior, anxiety, substance abuse or eating disorders. The combination of depression and another disorder contributes to an increased risk for suicide. Therefore, if you see your child dealing with some of these symptoms and struggling to lead a happy life like other kids, it’s your responsibility to help him get out of this situation. Consult with a physician to find a treatment option as early as you possibly can. The combination of psychotherapy and medication is known to be a good treatment option, so see if that’s what your child needs to overcome his fears.