By Denise Morganthall
Depression is the most common mental health problem in the U.S. Children under stress; who experience loss or who have learning, conduct, or anxiety disorders are at a higher risk for depression. Depression also tends to run in families.
But how do you know if your child is suffering from depression? Below are a few signs you need to take seriously:
- Frequent sadness or crying
- Low self-esteem and guilt
- Decreased interest in friends and activities
- Thoughts or expression of suicide
- Self-destructive behaviors
- A major change in sleeping and eating patterns
These are just a few signs, however if you notice any of these there is a good chance your child or teenager may be suffering from depression. As with any mental illness, early intervention is critical. It is worth noting that during the teen years you will see behavior changes, and they do not all indicate depression. So how do we know if it is time to seek medical attention? When the mood lingers for a long time – weeks or months and limits the child’s ability to function normally, it can be diagnosed as depression.
As parents, we obviously want our children to be healthy and happy. Don’t wait if you suspect a problem; seek medical attention immediately. Depression can be successfully treated in 80 percent of the cases. But if it goes untreated, it can be deadly as it is a major risk factor for suicide. It also may help to log onto www.ParentCentral.Net or direct your child to www.TeenCentral.Net to hear from other people battling similar circumstances.