Childhood depression is a serious issue all over the globe. Children who are significantly depressed can find it hard to function at all. Childhood depression has affected more than 16% of kids in the US at some point in their lives.
About 3,000 adolescents, as well as young adults, are dying from suicide every year in the States, which makes the 3rd leading cause of death in young people 10-24 years old. Sadness or the blues are normal, transitional reactions to serious events like a loss.
For instance, the death of a parent or a divorce could precipitate depression in children. However, if the constant state of sadness doesn’t pass, and you notice that the child hasn’t bounced back even after a significant amount of time after the loss, this could mean that the child is depressed. Depression can also develop gradually without being triggered by a precipitating event.
Depressed kids could end up having difficult relationships with their siblings and parents. They also withdraw from activities or friends and constantly feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Teenagers have sleep disturbances or sleep more than normal.
The child could be exceeding the normal number of house of sleep, routinely waking up tired, have difficulty sleeping at night, needing constant rousing from a deep sleep especially in the mornings, or he or she could be having difficulty falling back to sleep due to excessive worrying in the middle of the night.
Depressed children could also be eating the wrong foods, eating too much, or not eating enough. Some may have no energy, lacking motivation, some may be unable to focus and easily agitated. If you initially had an easy-going kid, but they become irritable, upset, or angry when you request him or her to do something, he could be depressed. More symptoms of depression include:
· Poor communication, social isolation
· Frequent sadness, crying, tearfulness, hopelessness
· Inability to enjoy activities decreased interest in activities they used to enjoy
· Low energy, persistent boredom, poor concentration
· Hostility or anger
· Stomach Aches or headaches
· Guilt, low self-esteem, extreme sensitivity to failure or rejection
· Poor performance or frequent school absences
· Increased anger, irritability or hostility, difficult relationships
· Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
· Trying to run away from home
· Self-destructive behavior and expressions or thoughts of suicide.
Causes of Depression
Childhood depression doesn’t have one specific cause. Children with depression tend to have a number of psychological, biological, and environmental contributors. Biologically, a deficient level of the neurotransmitter serotonin is associated with depression.
Due to the biological differences in girls and boys based on gender and other differences, the girl child is more likely to be diagnosed with depression compared to boys. Children and teens born by a depressed parent are four times more likely to develop depression due to a partially genetic component in them.
Children with anxiety and depression are more prone to biological issues like trouble sleeping, suffering from a physical condition, low birth weight, etc.
Some of the psychological contributors to depression include negative social skills, low self-esteem, being excessively self-critical, negative body image, and feelings of helplessness when dealing with certain negative events.
Children who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder, clinical anxiety, or those with learning or cognitive problems and trouble engaging in social activities, are at a higher risk of developing depression.
Childhood depression may also be a reaction to life stresses such as trauma IQ. This includes physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, school problems, the death of a loved one, suffering or bullying from peer pressure.
Teens and youths who are having a hard time adapting to US culture are also at risk of developing depression. Obese kids are also at an increased risk of developing childhood depression due to self-esteem issues and teasing from other children.
Financial difficulties and poverty, in general, are also contributors to childhood depression. Other contributors include social isolation, violence, divorce, parental conflict, and other causes of family life disruptions.
Children with poor school performance, limited physical activity, or have lost a relationship are also at risk of developing depression.