We wish happy children and often it is like that. Always cheerful, eyes bright, our little ones explore the world. But it can also be different: Between 0.3 and 2.5% of all children under 12 suffer from depression. Here, professional help is needed.
The older children become, the more the number of depression increases. Between the ages of 12 and 17, there are already between three and ten percent depressed adolescents. The causes are ultimately the same as in adults. Mental as well as physical disorders can lessen the desire to live and trigger depression.
Why children become depressed
Children go carefree and relish through life. Tragic events in the family can turn this love of life into the opposite. If a parent or other close family member dies, or the child is abused or neglected, it can trigger depressive behavior. Even a divorce or a sick parent can drive a child into it. Guilt or the feeling of being a burden add to the mood. Especially if a parent is depressed, there is a risk that the child will also suffer from this disease. On the one hand, there is a genetic disposition that makes the child vulnerable to depression, and on the other, depressive parents often can not meet the child’s needs for closeness, affection and attention. After all, a child learns by imitation and can thereby take over depression as a behavioral pattern in case of problems. Outside the family, new difficult situations, such as moving to a new school or moving, can disrupt the psychological balance of a sensitive child to the point of becoming depressive.
Mood swings are part of the development of children. However, if your child is ill-tempered for a long period of time, impotent, drunk, or obviously, you should get to the root of the problem. Whether a depression is present, only a doctor can decide. If you experience the following symptoms, you should seek it and either confirm or exclude depression:
Children in their first year of life may become depressed by loss of a close caregiver or by a general neglect of depression. Apathy and delayed physical and mental development are the first signs here.
Infants between one and three years old may also be depressed if neglected or losing a caregiver. Again, the development is delayed in several areas. They learn to walk and speak later, are generally insecure and have a subtle motor skills. Sleep disorders, eating disorders and excessive tearfulness and affection are other symptoms of possible depression. Especially if your child is listless, shows hospitalistic traits or self-destructive tendencies.
Depressed children in kindergarten age show the same or similar symptoms as toddlers, in addition, they are still noticeably anxious and can hardly separate from the parents. They regress in their development, they are not curious and they are eager to experiment and accordingly they do not develop much further. Often, for the first time, the feeling of not being loved is articulated: no one wants to play with me!
While the developmental delays in childhood are more indicative of depression, there is an increasing frequency of mental symptoms between six and 12 years of school age. The children are depressed, listless and anxious. Guilt feelings, excessive self-criticism, but also concentration disorders and memory disorders can now be observed. Depressed children hardly play and can not deal with themselves, on the other hand, you can also be extremely fidgety and restless or attract attention by aggressive behavior. However, there is always a great joylessness with it. From this age already Suizidgefahr exists.
Sad, brooding, joyful and hopeless. This is how depressive teenagers are. They have a very low self-esteem and isolate themselves from the environment. Especially at this age, the suicide risk of depression is great. According to estimates, about 10% of all depressed adolescents have at least attempted suicide.
After the diagnosis
If the diagnosis is depression, then parents have to rethink first. The behavior of the child is now assessed in a different way. It is sick and not angry, stupid or lazy, as one might have previously secretly suspected. Guilty feelings mix with shame, the emotional burdens on parents are great. The most important thing now is to help the child quickly find out from the depression. The sooner this happens, the sooner the child has the opportunity to go through the stages of his or her childhood to become a healthy adult. Professional help is provided by the pediatrician. As a rule, depressed children are treated on an outpatient basis if there are no special circumstances. However, if your child is prone to self-destructive behavior,
Therapy forms for depressive children
Therapies for children and adolescents must be carried out and coordinated with particular care. There are different forms of therapy, the selection takes into account the age and development. Also important are the social situation, the environment and also the competence of parents and friends regarding the support of the therapy. In essence, one differentiates the following possible forms:
Psychotherapies can either be carried out as deep psychological psychotherapy or psychoanalysis, as talk therapy, as behavioral therapy or as family therapy.
The game therapy uses the game and thus the very expressive means of children.
For very young children, so-called mother-child training programs are often used to improve and intensify the contact between child and caregiver.
Medications can support the different forms of therapy, but most drugs have been poorly researched so far. Proper dosage and regular longer-term intake are particularly important here.
If you suspect that your child is depressed, you should act immediately. Because every day you leave your child in this joyless state, a piece of his childhood is lost to him.