Depression not only affects adults, children also suffer from it. It is not the same, however, a child who feels sad, a depressed child. There are symptoms that indicate depression in children such as anxiety, sudden mood swings or constant tantrums for no apparent reason. It is the psychologist who has to treat a depressed child, but parents can help prevent this disorder.
The psychologist Silvia Álava clarifies how childhood depression can be prevented, how it can be cured and what consequences can be given to a child who has not been treated by a psychologist.
1. Can childhood depression be prevented?
Childhood depression can be prevented. Above all we have to know what kind of behaviors, or what kind of attitudes, parents can have to make their children healthy, happy children. What things can we do? For example, don't overprotect children. That is one thing that does not help us at all.
When we do not leave the child free, to develop, to acquire their basic behaviors, to be autonomous, that child is really doing him a disservice because we are not making him autonomous or feel safe in his own right same.
Parents are the role model, therefore they have to be a model of security, of trust. They have to be firm and confident. There are many parents who are very doubtful and who make the child see that in the end the child is winning, that the child has more strength than the adult.
It is also going to be very important that children earn things. When a child has everything and has everything 'for free', that is, it has not cost them an effort to earn it, they do not value it. On the other hand, when it has cost a child a little effort, they will value it more. You don't have to allow them everything because children are going to need rules, limits. That gives them security, it gives them confidence.
A fundamental thing. You have to teach them from a very young age to tolerate frustration. And frustration is tolerated from a very young age. When a two-year-old wants candy and throws a terrible tantrum because she doesn't have the candy, it's important to learn to tolerate frustration.
2. What consequences can untreated childhood depression cause?
Consequences that untreated childhood depression can generate. When we do not treat the problem, it can become chronic and we can find that they are children who have a generalized apathy, a lack of motivation towards studying, towards the rest of the tasks, it can lead to school failure, behavioral difficulties, bad coexistence at home, bad relationship with equals. It will also depend a lot on each child and each family.
3. Does childhood depression have a cure? Once a child has childhood depression, will he always have it?
Childhood depression has a cure just like depression in adults.
In fact, many times what we find is that both children and adults who have gone through a bump in the end generate a series of strategies and a series of techniques that in the end will help them not only to overcome that depression or to overcome that emotional bump but it can help them in the future because they already have these techniques and these strategies. Of course there is a cure and of course it can be greatly improved.
4. Is depression different in boys than in girls?
I have not found a study that says there are more boys than girls. We also have to remember that when children are young, the prevalence is very small, we were talking about 1 to 3%.
On the other hand, as we approach puberty and adolescence. We find that the prevalence is higher in girls or girls than in boys. Which is something similar to what happens to us in adulthood. In adulthood, the prevalence of depression is also higher in women than in men.
5. What profile of children is more prone to depression?
First we have to know that each child is unique and that the specific case must be studied. But if children brought up in an environment of overprotection of absence of rules, of limits, where everything is done, where they have not acquired the importance of effort, they are children who have a hard time tolerating frustration, they are children more likely to have Emotional problems.
6. When is it said that a child is depressed and when is it said that a child is only sad?
It is very important to make a correct diagnosis. It is not the same for a child to be depressed as for a child to be sad.
You have to be very careful with the labels. For a child to be able to say that he is depressed, the following factors must be given; You have to be sad for most of the day, you have to stop doing activities that you like, you have to have lost your appetite, we have to find that it is difficult for you to sleep, you are fatigued, you have trouble concentrating, and this begins to interfere with your school, begins to interfere in their relationships with relatives, begins to interfere in their relationships with their friends.
All of this has to be given and it also has to be given over a prolonged period of time.
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