Did you know that teenage suicide rates have increased by over 50% on the last ten years globally? This is a worrying trend that seems to be getting worse every year. According to knowledgeable and experienced experts, the leading cause of such suicide is childhood depression. In this brief but nonetheless detailed article, you will begin to understand childhood depression.
Here are 5 things every parent needs to know about Childhood Depression
Childhood depression is more common than more parents think
Contrary to common misconception, depression is not just a disease that affects mentally ill and stressed out adults, it is also extremely common in kids. According to Robert L Hendren who is the former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, most parents fail to recognize that their kid is suffering from depression until the situation gets worse and the symptoms become quite obvious. The simplest way to ascertain whether your little goober is suffering from depression is simply knowing when your child is more than unhappy.
Depression commonly runs in the family
This is a fact that most parents are unaware of. According to reliable studies, close to 25% of kids who suffer from depression have at least one parent who has suffered from clinical depression at some point. If both mother and father have suffered from clinical depression at some point in life then the risk of a child suffering from depression increases 70 a staggering 75%. Sadly, scientists are still not sure the reason for this. Some studies suggest that kids with parents who have suffered from clinical depression have genetic vulnerability.
Childhood depression is often masked and mimicked by other issues
Did you know that more than 40% of kids who suffer from childhood depression also have an anxiety disorder such as OCD(Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). One out 4 of kids with childhood depression also suffers from ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder).
Knowledgeable and experienced experts agree that when a child already suffers from any form of anxiety they become extremely susceptible to depression. Since anxiety related disorders trend to coexist with childhood depression, it makes it make misdiagnosis easy. To be safe most professionals recommend that any kid diagnosed with depression be evaluated for an anxiety disorder and vice versa.
Irritability is one of the major clues that your child may be suffering from depression
One of the biggest differences between symptoms of depression in adults and kids is that while grownups are usually withdrawn and sad. Children are the exact opposite (irrational outbursts and easily aggravated). Children have no idea that they are depressed and cannot find the words to describe how they are feeling. The take away here is that depression has different symptoms in kids and adults.
Early diagnosis and treatment is extremely important
Numerous MRI studies have shown that prolonged untreated depression in kids can actually change the shape of the brain .Keep in mind that a child brain is still growing so anything they are exposed to for prolonged periods in terms of behavior will affect them substantially. According to these MRIO studies, prolonged depression in kids can for instance shrink the size of the hippo-campus which helps a human being control their emotions. If the size of the hippo-campus shrinks your child will have problems socially, academic issues, substance abuse and in serious cases it can lead to self harm and suicide. The bottom-line is if you suspect that your kid may be depressed then get them to a doctor as soon as possible.
Numerous MRI studies have shown that prolonged untreated depression in kids can actually change the shape of the brain
Childhood depression is a serious problem that is becoming increasingly common. The best way to stay ahead of the situations is to spend quality time with your child and get to know and understand them well. This way you will be able to notice when something is off.