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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

How to handle DEPRESSION in KIDS

Written by: Dr Maymunah


YES, KIDS CAN BE DEPRESSED TOO

…What to do

Firstly let’s look at a complaint sent to my email inbox.  

Dr Maymunah,

I’m troubled, very troubled and I need urgent help. My 13 – year – old daughter is having serious issues with her emotions. She cries for no reason, fights at any available reason, and has even stopped talking to us for the past two days.

All attempts to communicate with her has failed. Recently, her grades in school have been so poor that the authorities of the school have advised that she quit. She was seen last week by the school's clinical psychologist who said she is depressed and that she should see a psychiatrist for proper management.

Doctor, does a 13 – year – old have depression, how?

My daughter is the happiest child I know, though her behaviour is changing, but depression at this age? Please help us.

Mrs. Esther
Lagos.

Growing up is full of challenge and opportunity, starting and changing school, making new friends, going through puberty and preparing for exams. Some children take the change in their stride. For others, adaptation is harder, causing stress and even depression. If you are worried that your child might be depressed, read on.

Here are some of the things you should know:
Depression is an illness characterised by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks. 

Additional signs and symptoms of depression during childhood include withdrawal from others, irritability, excessive crying, difficulty concentrating at school, and a change in appetite or sleeping more or less.

Younger children may lose interest in play. Older children may take risks that they would not normally take.

Depression is both preventable and treatable:
These are some of the things you can do if you think/know your child might be depressed:

-  Talk to him or her about things happening at home, at school and outside of school. Try to find out whether anything is bothering him or her. Talk to people you trust who know your child.

- Seek advice from your health – care provider.

- Protect your child from excessive stress, maltreatment and violence.

- Pay particular attention to your child’s well-being during life changes such as starting a new school or puberty. Encourage your child to get enough sleep, eat regularly, be physically active, and to do things that he or she enjoys.

- Make time to spend with your child.

- If your child has thoughts of harming him or herself or has already done so, seek help from trained professional immediately.

Remember: If you think your child might be depressed, talk to him or her about any worries or concerns, and seek professional help if needed.

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