Is My Child Depressed?
One of the most common psychological problems of our time is depression, although people think it’s an adult problem, it is also likely to occur in children. Depression symptoms are observed in 3% of children and 13% of young people. Attachment and relationship between mother and child is very important in the 0-18 months period. The occurrence of attachment includes physical contact, eye contact, approach to the child, and the relationship with the child. When this attachment takes place in a healthy way, the child’s self-confidence and the outside world starts to develop, but childhood attachment or communication disorders occur if the attachment is not healthy. It makes the child’s individual and social life dysfunctional.
Causes of depression in children are usually; the loss of a loved one, feelings of disability, domestic violence, divorce, the occurrence of a chronic illness, natural disasters, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, conflict between parents, and environmental change.
What are the Symptoms of Depression in Children?
1-Starting to enjoy nothing
The child is markedly distanced from the social life, environment, friends and family, and begins to feel unhappy or empty. He cannot be happy with anything, he complains constantly, laughs little and cries for no reason, starts to get along with his friends, has difficulty in establishing and maintaining games. Failure to live with friends is one of the behaviors of children showing their unhappiness.
There is a state of tenseness, distresse and restlessness, such as decreased interest in activities, homework or games, or the fact that he didn’t like and enjoy things he used to do. In addition, families whose child experience depression hear “I’m bored” all the time. Frequent sighing becomes a sad and tense look. In addition, there is a constant state of unhappiness, unwillingness to do anything, being unhappy and reluctant, irrational thoughts, mental and physical stagnation. Children who experience different emotions such as indifference and neglect are usually in depression.
2- The Decline of Academic Performance
There is a decrease in energy and willingness. The period after the fourth age of children is called the play age. In addition, this period is the period of socialization. During this period, if the family has not noticed the depression in the child, the more the child grows, the more the depression grows with it. How does the lazy boy develop? We can find the answer to this question in this age. They do not want to play games, do not want to be together with other children and make new friends, do not cooperate. Children between the ages of 4-6 have difficulty in breaking away from family in kindergarten or primary school.
The child has relationship problems at school, attention problems, a decrease in thought and concentration, the desire to study is quite low and decreases over time. The teacher can not be connected, does not talk to friends. We often hear complaints like ”I don’t want to go to school.” He can make his stomach sick and try to vomit on his own. He constantly tries to the excuse of illness and not go to school. Regression begins in a child called regression.
3- Feeling sad and distressed
Feeling sad and distressed; During the day, the child has a crying condition, feeling sad and exhaustion, depression, pessimistic thinking, wanting to be alone, irritable and angry. Sudden deterioration in mood and behavior. They also often criticize themselves and their actions.
Sleep Problems; insomnia or hypersomnia. During this period, not to get out of bed or not want to go to bed at all, fear of having bad dreams, constant nightmares may occur.
5- Frequent illness due to weakened immune system
Changes in eating and sleeping habits begin to be seen. Often physical complaints occur. He constantly feels tired, sluggish and exhausted.
Even if he doesn’t do anything, he starts losing energy, losing weight or gaining weight (gaining or losing weight without a special diet) (more than 5% of his body weight), and a significant increase or decrease in the child’s appetite. Appetite changes; excessive eating or loss of appetite occurs. They get tired quickly.
6-Significant decreases in self-confidence
There is a significant decline in self-confidence and she feels guilty, worthless and inadequate for various issues. Develops a predisposition to alcohol and substance abuse. He starts thinking about suicide or death. Someone who has had depression in childhood is more likely to enter a depressive period in later life. Bipolar disorder and eating disorders can also be seen in these children. Pessimism or lack of prospects for the future. Symptoms of communication problems and depressive mood again point to childhood depression.
7- Delay in speaking
If the child is depressed, there is a slowdown in the child’s development. In his speech, he becomes indecisive or stuttering. In children 2.5 – 3 years is the period in which speech development is accelerated. Late speech development can be a symptom of depression. In addition, the child starts to gain toilet training during these periods. During this period, finger sucking and other behavioral problems may also occur. All the events conflict, tension and radical changes in the family affects the child. Trauma affects depression, anxiety, stress, conflicts within the family. When the child is younger, the mother’s frowning and frightening of the eye when it comes to the eye and the intimidation of the mother is very negative but it can be affected by external events at this age. Depression emerges as behavior disorder. The nail is showing itself as eating, sucking fingers or tension.
Families should first observe their children’s behavior closely, pay attention to their children’s discourse, and take it seriously that they will harm them. In such cases, parents should be understanding, judging and never leaving their children alone. They should approach. It may also be necessary to establish contact with the child’s school and teachers. If psychotherapy doesn’t help you should see a psychiatrist. There are safe drugs for children and they do not have serious side effects. It should take at least 2-3 weeks for the effect of the drug treatment.