Children can be suffering from depression and their parents may not even be aware of it. This is an invisible disease and sadly it is growing.Depression is a mental illness and its causes are so wide and varied, it can be impossible to pin point its origin.
Depression is not a fussy disease, choosing people of all ages, races and backgrounds. Some depression is caused by an event while other forms of depression may be as a result of family history. Just because a major event never occurred in your child’s life, that does not mean they will be automatically escape the clutches of depression.
Here is a quick depression checklist you can do with your child if you think they may be struggling, as sometimes we need help to see through the haze depression can cause.
Here are 5 signs your child may be suffering from depression:
- Change in eating habits. This can be either a dramatic increase in appetite or a decrease in appetite. Some suffers eat for comfort, feeling a security in food consumption. While other suffers lose their appetite altogether, refusing to eat on a regular basis.
- Change in sleeping habits. Most teens need around 8 hours of sleep every night but if a teen is suffering from depression, this can cause difficulty in getting to sleep and staying asleep. With such restless nights, deep sleep often then comes in the early hours of the morning, making waking up a challenge and concentrating during the day difficult.
- Withdrawing from family and friends. Most teens are social beings, however when suffering from depression, being social is no longer important. Showing little interest in going out with friends, joining in family events and staying up to date with social media can be a sign of depression.
- Extreme fatigue and lack of enthusiasm. Things your teen use to enjoy doing are no longer worth their time and have little or no interest in doing anything new. Everything seems to difficult or a chore and all they want to do is sleep the day away are all signs your teen may be suffering from depression.
- Mood swings. Yes I know teenagers are known for their mood swings but if they may be suffering from depression, these mood swings can be from one extreme to the next, often resulting in tears or complete breakdowns. Being aware of these mood swings and how intense they are is important in helping with diagnosing depression.
If you think your child may be suffering from depression there are many places you can go to seek help. The first step is understanding that depression can be caused by many things and simply telling the child to “get over it” or “IT WILL PASS” will not help. Depression can be difficult for people to understand who have never suffered from it but patience and understanding is the best support you can give your child.