It is common for parents of children who seem to be more sad or grumpy than usual to dismiss it as just a phase. More often than not, parents say they’ll outgrow it anyway. Parenting expert Dr. Michelle Borba, however, begs to disagree. In an article on her own website, Dr. Borba says kids are prone to depression too, and when depression in children strikes, it strikes real hard.
Depression in children statistics
Many of the statistics that Dr. Borba cites in her article are disturbing. For instance, she mentions research that children as young as three are getting hit by depression. Children today are also ten times more likely to be seriously depressed than children who were born in the first third of the 20th century. Even more alarming is 15 percent of kids have already had a major depression episode by the time they graduate from high school. For me, however, the most troubling is that suicide rates for young children and teenagers have already tripled in the last thirty years.
Symptoms of depression in kids
To help parents identify whether or not their children are suffering from depression, Dr. Borba lists down possible symptoms of depression in kids, from preschoolers to school age children and adolescents. Preschoolers who are depressed, for example, tend to lose pleasure in play, complain of frequent stomach aches or headaches, or exhibit more intense preschool behaviors such as tantrums and whining. Common symptoms of depression in kids who are old enough for school, meanwhile, include tearfulness, low self-esteem, excessive worrying and feeling of unworthiness. Depressed teenagers, on the other hand, engage in self-destructive behavior, feelings of isolation, loss of concern over appearance and morbid or suicidal thoughts.
It is absolutely important for us parents to understand depression in children and always be on the lookout for signs that our kids might be suffering from it. We should also be open-minded to the idea of treatment for depression because whether we like it or not, it is the only real way to deal with depression in children. You wouldn’t want to put off getting treatment for depression from a mental health professional because untreated depression in children can only get worse over time, and there’s no telling what the eventual consequences would be.
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