5 symptoms of Depression in your child

Depression in Kids - ZenParent

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A study conducted at 11 centres in India shows that the number of people diagnosed with depression is going up. Now this could be because of two reasons- One, our lives are getting too stressful resulting in this, or that we have gotten better at recording these statistics. Either way, the incidents of depression has increased not only among adults but children as well. The article went on to quote chilling statistics that 75% of those who were diagnosed as depressed also had a history of attempting suicide. Clinical depression is a state of mind where the person is plagued with sadness, negativity and loss of interest in activities. It is therefore a good idea to be aware of the warning symptoms that your child could be depressed.

  1. Sudden increase in irritability and sadness: If you suddenly find your child moping around most of the times, increasingly prone to tears at the slightest provocation, exhibiting extended periods of sadness for no reason, then it is time to start having an earnest conversation with your child.
  2. Sudden withdrawal from social activities: If your normally extroverted child is suddenly withdrawing from his friends and staying in his room, something might be amiss. Find out if there is any particular reason or a problem with an individual. This might also be a good time to make sure it is not about bullying or sexual harassment of any sort.
  3. Eating and sleeping becoming erratic: Lack of appetite, inability to sleep leading to dark circles around the eyes, aversion to even favourite foods- suddenly everyone is commenting that your child has lost weight.
  4. Loss of interest in favourite hobbies: Your child may have been very interested in music or sports- but if that suddenly changes to a total apathy in it, it could be a sign that all is not well.
  5. Expressions of death: The facebook page of one teen who committed suicide recently in Bangalore revealed that there were a lot of status updates about the futility of being alive, dark portrayals of life, poetry about death etc. These are sure signs that help and intervention is needed.

It can sometimes be hard to distinguish between a grumpy teen and one who is depressed. However if your child is sad for a continuous period of two weeks and exhibits many of the symptoms mentioned above, do have them evaluated by a psychologist. A timely intervention could make or break a life. As parents, we also have this belief that “It cannot be our child “– All problems usually happen only to other children. We need to get our blinkers off, tune in to our children and make sure that we catch a problem early before it snowballs into a crisis.

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