Dealing with depression
Sooner or later that sweet child in your home will become the moody teenager. Maybe, it’s already happened. Usually, it’s just a phase that he or she will outgrow. But what if it goes beyond moody and is actually depression?
Depression is a biological illness with a strong hereditary link. Generally, 35 to 40 percent of depressed children have inherited their disease. Usually, parents notice that their child is depressed around the teen years.
Teens with chronic illness, such as depression, are no different than any other child and generally want to be treated just like any other kid. But they should receive professional help and be assessed for anxiety and depression.
Parents should watch for any change in mood like sadness, depression, hopelessness, irritability, anger and hostility. You may see more tearfulness and changes in activity level. Watch for more withdrawal from friends and family, change in friends and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. Other signs include sleep disturbance, change in appetite, restlessness, agitation, fatigue, lack of energy/motivation, feelings of worthlessness and guilt. Depressed kids may have difficulty concentrating, making decisions and may even see a drop in grades.
Always be aware of signs of depression and keep a close eye on your child. Never ignore symptoms. If you see signs of depression, contact your physician and obtain referrals for a psychologist or therapist who is trained in pediatric and adolescent care.
Children threatening suicide may be trying to get attention or may be struggling with depression. But it doesn’t matter. You must take the threat very seriously. If a child is talking about suicide, get help immediately. It is critical not to ignore this cry for help regardless of their reasons.
Know that if your child is struggling with a chronic illness, including depression, it will impact the entire family. Families will require a lot of support: emotional, financial and physical. Most importantly, the support needs to be ongoing. It’s important to allow family members to vent frustration and grieve. Therapy is very helpful. If your teen is struggling with this problem, the entire family will need help to get through it. The good news is it’s available. If you feel your child needs help, please call 682-885-3917 for a referral into Cook Children’s Psychology department.
About the author
Lisa Elliott is a licensed psychologist and clinic manager of Cook Children’s Behavioral Health, located at 3201 Teasley Lane, Ste. 202, Denton, TX 76210. To make an appointment, call 940-484-4311. Cook Children’s Psychology provides care focused on children’s behavior, from ages 3 years through 17.