Grow Up Happy -- Identify and Treat Depression Early
Kids can be moody. Sometimes it's a passing blue phase, but other times it's a darker, more prolonged sadness or irritability that can greatly impact a child's health and ability to enjoy life.
Changes in your child's regular behavior, moods, and emotions may be a warning sign of depression. Look for symptoms of depression, such as:
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Drop in grades
- Change in appetite or body weight
- Neglecting appearance and hygiene
- Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
Because depression is often less obvious than more disruptive behavior disorders, it is frequently overlooked, especially by parents. If you suspect your child may be depressed, promptly seek treatment.
Depression can take many forms, but each one is treatable. And the earlier depression is recognized and treated, the better the prognosis. With therapy, medication, or a combination of both, children can avoid the adverse emotional and physical consequences of depression and go on to lead happy and healthy lives.
But keep in mind that most children who have an episode of depression will have a recurrence. Up to 40% of depressed children relapse within 2 years, and 70% will do so by adulthood.
If left untreated, depression can significantly interfere with the development, well-being, and future health and happiness of your child. Depressive thinking may become a lasting part or his or her personality and lead to mental disorders in adulthood. Depression can lead to eating or sleep disorders, obesity, substance abuse, and even suicide, which is the second leading cause of adolescent death after motor vehicle accidents.