We often tend to make fun of certain activities by calling them child’s play. However, it turns out that “child’s play” might not be that playful and happy-go-lucky after all. In the US, child depression on average tends to affect one in every forty kids. This should be a revelation for those of you who assume their child’s apparent depression as being just the “blues.” Neither is such a kid being emotional or moody, or even “difficult” for that matter.
Yes, granted that children can start sulking at times if their parents or guardians have not given into their demands for that new toy or a sugary treat, even after they have thrown their fair share of tantrums. But the fact is that what with the fast-paced lifestyle that even kids these days have to cope with, as well as all sorts of synthetic and processed food that is being marketed to catch their fancy, it is no wonder that they have started experiencing similar mental illnesses as their elders.
If you see your child displaying irritable behaviour and getting angry all the time of petty things or on the flip side, becoming somewhat withdrawn socially or start brooding habitually, then there is a cause for concern. Furthermore, even though you might not immediately sense it, but your child is usually very sensitive to the environment in their homes and schools as well as the attitudes of various people that they interact with. Thus there is a whole range of emotions triggers that can bring about feelings of hopelessness, despair, guilt, self-loathing, worthlessness and even committing suicide.
Worrying Factors about Child Depression
The most disturbing factor that may be involved in your child developing a bout of depression with an underlying suicidal tendency is that it may be brought upon by the very medication that is supposed to treat it. Since the late 1990s, there have been several studies conducted within the scientific community that have shown that antidepressants such as the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drugs such as Prozac and Zoloft tend to increase the risk of suicide, especially amongst children.
Your little ones have a body chemistry that is constantly undergoing changes as it is. Add to that a class of drugs that interfere with their brain’s job of regulating levels of serotonin, the so-called “happy hormone,” and you have a virtual suicidal time-bomb on your hands. Even the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) that is the official branch of the US government overseeing the marketing of pharmaceuticals, among other things, has issued strong warnings over the potential link between suicides and the usage of SSRI antidepressants.
How to Effectively Alleviate Child Depression
Where it is essential to discuss the moods and feelings with depressed adults, it is even more important to engage children and have a heart to heart with them. Children can also have a lot of hesitation when it comes to revealing their inner feelings and it takes time, patience and trust-building with them for positive results to come out. Make sure your children are getting plenty of exercise outdoors, preferably when the sun is shining. This is essentially for natural vitamin D production, the depletion of which has been linked to child depression.