Do you know the signs of depression in a child? Contrary to popular belief - many children suffer from depression.
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Female Speaker: It's a common misconception that depression can only happen to adults. In reality depression can impact any one at any age including children and teens and studies say, Latino youth are at a higher risk to experience depression than non-hispanic white youth. Here are some signs that every parent should be on the look out for. Dr. Bennett Williamson: I think for children of course if they verbalize it that's important to pay attention to. If they don't verbalize it you can look for behavior or markers such as withdrawal, social withdrawal. Weight change or sudden gain or loss of the weight. Changes in behavior where they are not taking care of themselves, they are not cleaning up or they are not expressing interest in activities that they used to enjoy. So sometimes you could also notice things just like irritability and change in mood and the change in the way they relate to others in the house or at school. Female Speaker: Other signs include problems concentrating and maintaining grades. Physical ailments like stomach aches, headaches and sleeping problems. Lack of energy and thoughts of suicide or death. There are many causes for a child depression, child abuse, trauma, situational changes in the home environment like moving and losing friends or divorcing parents will have enormous effects on your child. Dr. Edgar Villamarin: There is something about a child wishing for a dad and a mom together even in the worst situations. So it is hard. They get sad, they get angry. Children remember to hide their depression through anger. So you see them, gosh, they are so rebellious or they just so ugly right now, but they maybe hiding some depression. Female Speaker: Also problems with puberty or peer pressure among social groups may lead a child who is struggling to cope to an adjustment disorder with depression. Dr. Bennett Williamson: There are also more biologically based kinds of depression like major depression that's not so much situationally based. Although, it can be triggered by a situational change and there are line of problems of depression such as Dyspania. Dyspania is a kind of depression that is probably less visible because it doesn't effect your level of functioning. You can go to work, you can go to school. You can function but you have trouble on most days enjoying things or having a positive mood. Female Speaker: If you are worried that your child is suffering from depression according to experts, the first thing a parent should do is ask why you are so sad. And to really listen to your child without influencing their answer. Dr. Bennett Williamson: So what's important is to be able to listen and then if the depression is persistent it's to be willing to get professional help and to destigmatize what depression is, that is to not make it be some sort of negative thing. It's something that you treat. If you have a heart problem you go to the doctor. If you break a leg you go to the doctor. If you have a biologically based depression, you need to go to a specialist that know how to deal with that. Female Speaker: Bringing your child to a specialist or a psychologist will help create an environment for the child where he or she could safely talk and express their true feelings without worrying about hurting their parents feeling. Dr. Bennett Williamson: What the psychologist can do is in some ways help if it's appropriate to be the voice for the child with the parents. To be able to express and articulate things that the child may not be able to at that age or may not be willing to and also to provide expert guidance to the parents on how the parents can help at home. How they can be supportive and encourage your child to deal with the depression pro-actively instead of reactively where it's gotten to be so bad or worse, causing a lot of damage.
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