According to figures from the World Health Organisation, more than 260 million people worldwide suffer from depression. And it's not only adults who are diagnosed with this illness. Children as young as three or four years old can experience depression.
But the signs of depression in children are subtle - the symptoms are not always the same as in adults, and they can be hard to spot. Older teenagers also may show signs that they are unhappy, and as a parent, you need to be able to identify them and how you can help your child.
If a child seems sad, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are depressed. All children experience the "blues" occasionally as they grow and develop. But if the sadness persists and interferes with school and their usual interests and activities, this may signify that they are suffering from depressive illness. Bear in mind that while this can be a severe condition, it's also very treatable, and you will be able to find help for your child.
Try to be a good, safe listener and non-judgemental. Provide support and point to positive options, including assistance from mental health specialists. Point out that everyone struggles with problems in their lives from time to time and try to normalise the concept of seeking help.
If there's a family history of depression, and if your child is old enough to understand, talk to your child about it. Doing this will help them realise that their depression isn't their fault.
The symptoms of depression in children vary significantly, and a child may not experience all of them or will experience different symptoms at different times. Look out for the following signs of unhappiness:
Although it is a rare occurrence in children under 12, younger children sometimes attempt suicide, which may be an impulse when they are angry or upset. Children with depressive symptoms and those with a family history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or sexual or physical abuse have a greater risk for suicide.
Children with depression may also begin using alcohol or drugs, especially if they are over 12.
The teenage years are sometimes characterised as a happy, carefree time, but this is not always the case - teens may struggle with similar life problems to adults. If you think your teen may be unhappy, here are some of the signs to watch out for:
One symptom of depression in teens is a deep sadness that lasts more than two weeks. In addition, teens with depression may have suicidal thoughts or talk about harming themselves by cutting or other methods.
If you think your teenager is not being open with you, reach out to their friends. Despite their best efforts, parents may be the last to find out that their child is suffering from depression. Friends can help spot signs and symptoms and warn the parents if their teenager is talking about death or suicide.
American researchers found that obese or overweight girls were almost twice as likely to be suffering from depression as girls with healthy body weight. So if your teen is unhappy and struggling with weight gain, it could be a symptom of depression.
Another sign is a change in eating habits, suddenly eating significantly less or more. Try to talk to your teenager about any problems bothering them.
Teenagers with depression frequently have changed sleep patterns. Some may sleep far more than expected, while others experience insomnia and have trouble sleeping.
Changes in energy levels and activity can also be symptoms of depression. For example, some teens may show agitated behaviour, pacing, wringing their hands or chewing their nails. Others may be lethargic, showing less activity and slower movements than usual.
Warning signs that your usually conscientious teenager is depressed include abusing drugs or alcohol, being promiscuous or getting into trouble with the law. In addition, teenagers may feel hopeless, worthless or guilty and develop a negative attitude. Depression may also cause them to be moody, over-sensitive and easily upset.
Other signs of depression in teens include being dissatisfied with their appearance and spending far longer than usual getting ready to go out or school. They may constantly seek reassurance from family or teachers. Other signs that a teen is unhappy include feeling they are unlovable or of no value. Bach Flower Mix 66 can help teenagers overcome feelings of dejection and restore a positive self-image. Depressed teenagers often fall into a spiral of negative, self-critical thoughts, so take time to talk things over with your teenager and find out why they feel like this.
If you are worried that your child is unhappy, encourage them to talk about what's bothering them. Sometimes a child will find it easier to talk to someone other than a parent, so you may find it helpful to ask a grandparent, teacher, uncle or aunt to help support your child. It can sometimes be challenging to get children to talk about their feelings, so spend time with them and look out for clues as they play. And finally, if you are still concerned for your child after talking things through, don't hesitate to get in touch with your family doctor for advice. A wide range of treatments is available to help your child be happy again.
Sometimes it’s hard to notice when we've become trapped in familiar routines. Take our quiz to find out if you’re stuck in a rut and what you can do about it.Read the complete article
It's not always easy to tell if someone has depression. While some signs such as sadness, pessimism and withdrawal from social interaction are easy to recognise, other symptoms may be less obvious. And some people are very good at hiding their depression - even from themselves!
Facing the loss of a family member or close friend is probably one of the most difficult challenges that life throws at us. When we've lost a partner, parent, brother or sister, we're likely to experience intense grief.
Sexual desire is a complex interaction of hormones, emotions and well-being. When your partner is not as interested in sex as you are, it’s rarely a rejection of you as a person. So it’s essential to be as empathetic as you can regarding your differing libidos.
There's so much contradictory health advice out there, it gets confusing. One year, butter is said to be bad for you, and margarine is better. The following year, it's the other way around. One article says running causes strain on your joints; another says it's good for you because it increases bone strength.
Bad habits waste your energy and time. They disrupt your life, risk your health and stop you from achieving your aims. So why do we do them? And what can we do to break our bad habits?
It's often difficult to say no, but some people never do! So how do you know when to say no and when to say yes?
Narcissism is a term we often see these days. But what does it mean? It's used to describe a person who is full of themselves or overly vain. However, it's not really about self-love.
You see the word "toxic" everywhere these days, but what does it really mean? You've almost certainly come across someone who fits the description. Dealing with difficult personalities can be challenging and emotionally exhausting, to say the least.
It happens to everyone at times: we start doubting ourselves. We worry about the decisions and whether we can face future challenges that life has in store. And sometimes we feel that we just aren't good enough.
Are you unsure which Bach flowers can help you? Contact Tom for free advice.