As a parent, you most likely know when your child is showing abnormal emotions and behavior. While these changes may stem from events at home or in school, they may also be signs of an emotional disorder. Considering 2.1 percent of children aged 3 to 17 suffer with depression in the United States, understanding the condition is smart. Using this guide, you will understand the signs and treatment options for pediatric depression and determine the best course of action to improve your child's emotional well-being.
Signs of Pediatric Depression
Moodiness, anxiety, and anger are normal emotions for children, especially during the teen years. Unfortunately, your child will most likely not communicate their thoughts of severe sadness or hopeless. However, paying attention to your child's behavior at home and at school will be essential to diagnose their depression. If your child is showing the following symptoms, they may have depression:
- Excessive Time Alone – If your child is spending more time alone, avoiding time with their family and friends, they may be depressed.
- Loss of Interests – Depressed children will often quit favorite hobbies, such as sports, dancing, playing instruments, or video games.
- Fatigue – Children should have enough energy to exercise and play, but if your child always seems to feel tired and fatigued, they may be depressed.
- Appetite Changes – Many depressed children lose their appetite, resulting in weight loss.
- Changes in Sleep Pattern – Children with depression will often either have a desire for excessive sleep or the inability to sleep completely through the night.
Treating your Child's Depression Naturally
An estimated 60 percent of children taking anti-depressant medications see improvements in their emotional disorders. Unfortunately, these medications can cause uncomfortable and unhealthy side effects, so finding natural options is a safer alternative.
Counseling with licensed therapists will not only diagnose pediatric depression, but it can also determine the cause of your child's emotional distress. Children who communicate emotions freely with a counselor will improve their self-esteem, decrease melancholy, and learn healthy coping skills for their emotions that can be used throughout life.
Allowing your child to spend time with certified animal therapists is also effective for treating depression. Relaxing and playing with therapy animals can decrease the symptoms of depression and anxiety by lowering high blood pressure and easing the physical tension from stress.
Parenting a child with depression can be overwhelming, but proper understanding of this emotional disorder can help. With this guide and the help of your child's doctor, your child can receive treatment for their depression.