Depression is a mental illness marked by persistent feelings of sadness, irritability, loss of interest in activities, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness and sometimes, thoughts of suicide. A lot of people maintain the opinion that some “mal-health” conditions such as depression cannot be experienced by children.
The thing is children do experience depression from time to time. Nonetheless, it is important to know that childhood depression is different from the normal blues and everyday tantrums and emotions that occur as a child develops. Just because a child seems sad does not necessarily mean he or she is experiencing depression. The symptoms of depression in children vary and it is often undiagnosed and untreated because usually, they are considered as normal emotional and psychological changes that occur during growth.
Some significant signs of depression in children are irritability or anger, continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness, social withdrawal, increased sensitivity to rejection, fatigue and low energy, sleeplessness or excessive sleep and many others. The cause of depression in children is as a result of a combination of factors such as physical health, life events, family history, environment, genetic and vulnerability.
If a parent or teacher detects some of the symptoms of depression in a child, it is recommended and expedient to schedule a session with a mental health care professional who specializes in children. Treatment options for children with depression are similar to those for adults which include psychotherapy (counseling) and medication.