- Children are no exception to face emotional problems
- Mood changes can present as sadness, fear, anger or behavioral problems
- Children at risk of developing depression include those:
- Experiencing stressful situations eg parental rejection
- Experiencing loss eg death of a family member
- Having a family member with a history of depressive illness
- Having childhood psychiatric problems such as Attention deficit hyperactive disorder, Learning disorder, Anxiety disorder, Substance abuse and Early conduct disorder
What are the signs of depression?
Changes may manifest in
- Sadness, tearfulness or crying episodes
- Anger or hostility
- Strained relationship
- Frequent absences from school
- Wanting to run away from home
- Self destructive behaviour
- Mood / Emotion /Thinking
- Sense of misery
- Poor concentration
- Low self worth
- Feeling hopeless or helpless
- Feeling bored
- Sensitive to remarks or rejection
- Physical changes
- Low energy level
- Change in sleep or eating patterns
- Physical complaints like headache, stomachache etc.
- Weight changes
When should one call for help?
It is advisable to seek help when the:
- Child continues to feel low or unhappy
- Child experiences persistent loss of joy
- The negative emotions interfere with daily functioning
Can depression lead to other problems?
Depression in childhood may lead to:
- Interference with normal progress of growing up
- Interference with functions e.g:
- Forming relationship with family members, friends or teachers
- Serious behavioral problems e.g. conduct disorder
- Substance abuse to get comfort e.g. tobacco, alcohol, drugs
- Risk of self harm
- Risk of suicide
Can we do anything to help the child?
- Early detection and diagnosis are important
- Psychological support must be provided to help the child
- Learn positive thinking. Guide the child to examine and correct negative thought patterns and erroneous negative belief about self.
- Cope positively with life events, changes, fear, anger, frustrations etc
- Develop positive social skills
- Counseling is also necessary for the
- Antidepressant medication may be prescribed by a Psychiatrist
Can depression be prevented?
Much can be done to provide a positive environment for a child. For e.g.:
- Help the child deal with life events positively
- Gives him psychological support when he faces problems
- Provide accepting, warm, responsive and trusting relationship
- Set a good example, provide guidance and monitoring
- Provide a warm, harmonious environment
|Last Reviewed||:||02 July 2008|
|Writer||:||Dr. Aminah binti Kassim|