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Parenting A Child With Depression

May 31, 2008
Depressed children demonstrate many similar characteristics as adults who are depressed. Not everybody accepts that children can suffer from depression, especially if the youngster appears to have a happy and stable home life. However, it is a fact that the childhood years are a time in everybodys life when depression can take hold and affect you without you even realising.

To be able to understand childhood depression, you must first have a definition of depression in mind. Many folks say they are depressed when they have an especially unpleasant or sad day, but there is an essential difference between these short-lived feelings of misery and a genuine depressive disorder. Clinical depression is a continuous, pervasive sense of sadness, fear, and anxiety. If this type of true depression is left untreated, it can lead to serious health issues and even suicidal thoughts.

The general assumption amongst most adults is that children who are well fed, looked after properly and have a stable home life have no reason to be depressed. However, the reality is that early life is not completely the happy-go-lucky frolic we imagine it to be. Many youngsters feel tremendous pressure from their peers and society as a whole, to be something they are not in order to fit in. Additionally others feel that they must attain a certain degree of perfection in order to satisfy the important adults in their lives. Children have very little control over their own lives, and this can be very frightening for them in a sense that they have a difficult time understanding. It is in these situations that many children wind up being depressed.

Although scientists have a very limited understanding about the functioning of the human brain, they do know that certain chemical imbalances can lead to depression, which shows itself as an emotional response. Consequently, it is the imbalance that has to treated which often involves medications and relaxation techniques that balance out these chemicals.

Children who are depressed will often have continual feelings of sadness or be constantly tetchy. They will often express or exhibit a low self-image with statements such as 'I am no good' or 'I am so stupid' that seem to come out for no obvious reason. They will find it difficult to concentrate on any one thing and they may loose sleep, or start to sleep too much. There may also be a dramatic increase or decrease in their appetite and activity levels. Physical symptoms can often manifest themselves in the form of a continual stomachache or headache that have no obvious triggers. Other changes in the child's normal routine or behaviour can also be signs of depression. Of course, the depression may be triggered by an obvious event such the death of a close relative or pet, a change of school or a sudden move. However, when the symptoms of depression persist for an extended period that is when it becomes dangerous.

If you, as a parent, suspect that you child is suffering from depression, it is important to seek immediate help from a doctor that has experience of dealing with depressed children. They may prescribe some form of medication or counselling for your youngster.

The most important thing to do as a parent is to be proactive and ensure that your child gets the necessary treatment, so that he or she can live an exciting and fun filled life; the sort of life that childhood is made for!
About the Author
To learn much more about Healthy Living for Children, visit http://www.healthylivinganswers.com/childrens-health/ where you can find this and much more, including whether or not Parents are to Blame for Childhood Obesity
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