14 | Mar | 2022

Children Depression - A harsh Reality

The dangers of depression are silent cancer that often goes unnoticed until it is too late. Based on various studies, it is indeed a startling fact that loneliness is a common experience with 80% of the population under 18 years of age, and we all know that loneliness, depression and isolation all go hand- in-hand. With the advancement of social media, actual and physical social interaction amongst the youth has decreased which has unfortunately made the problem of isolation even more rampant. As parents, guardians, mentors and teachers, we must try to understand and identify key signs that indicate the fact that our child is affected by depression or moving towards a depressive state. Here are a few of them:

Isolation :

Children in a depressive state may suddenly start to avoid friends, families, peers and relations. They may also stop participating in any kind of social activity. This isolation deepens negative feelings within them such as low self-esteem or that the world is better off without them.

Confused mindset :

A child suffering from depression will convince themselves that there is nobody who can understand what they are feeling and it is a waste of time to even try to explain it to anyone. This confused and blocked state of mind leads the child to be afraid to share ideas, become over-sensitive to criticism or try anything new.

Unhappiness :

Depressed children always remain extremely insecure and unhappy about the life they lead and their future. More often than not, they are unable to identify the real reasons behind this insecurity and unhappiness which creates further frustration and leads them to cry for no apparent reason.

Lack of Interest :

Depression in a child can see them losing complete interest in some of their favourite activities and not finding any joy or excitement doing them. They will do these activities and actions merely for the sake of doing them and simply go through the motions. This state is created due to their sense of worthlessness where they feel that they are inherently not good enough to do anything.

Lack of Energy :

A child under depression will always complain of tiredness and appear sleep deprived. Any task assigned to them will be slow and never on time. This happens primarily because the child holds himself responsible for all mistakes and errors, irrespective of the fact whether it is true or not. This sense of false guilt withdraws them into a shell of insecurity and hopelessness thereby dropping their energy levels drastically.

Poor academic performance :

Children affected by depression may show a sudden drop in academic performance. This is caused by missing school by complaining about aches and pains in the body, attention disorder, and lack of motivation.

Aggressive behaviour :

Many children affected by depression show aggressive emotions towards people, incidents or situations that they believe caused their suffering. This makes them impulsive and unpredictable as they react without thinking of the consequences. Many times, this aggressive behaviour is directed inwards instead of outwards which leads them to inflict injury to themselves.

In conclusion, childhood depression is a complicated condition that can arise out of multiple causes such as :

  • Family heredity or history of depression.
  • Chronic illnesses such as Type 1 diabetes.
  • An unstable home life that includes family fights, divorces, frequent shifting.
  • Being bullied and abused.
  • Chemical imbalances in the brain.
  • Stress due to examinations, and peer pressure.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse.

Suicidal thoughts during depression are as much a reality amongst children as it is among adults. While not all suicidal thoughts during depression need to lead to the actual act of suicide, it is indeed a very serious threat and needs to be understood and addressed at the earliest and made sure that a healthy and happy environment surrounds the child.