Depression overall can be difficult to determine, treat and understand. Especially now, as we are in a global pandemic, it has become more challenging to live our lives of normalcy than we once had before. Isolation is more common now and becoming more challenging to avoid. In some cases, depression is often overlooked or seen to be occurring for different lengths of time. Feeling depressed can be temporary or, in some cases, daily, weekly, or monthly.
Sometimes we might think we feel depressed, but we are unsure whether we are becoming depressed more frequently and how we can change this feeling. For example, is my child or teen depressed? What signs might distinguish whether they are mildly depressed or chronically depressed?
What is depression and what are the signs?
You may find yourself wondering, what is depression? According to an article written by Cleveland Clinic, depression is a mood disorder and chemical imbalance that causes someone to feel sad, irritable, or hopeless. Depression can affect our lives in many ways.
It is essential to recognize that children, adolescents, and adults are experiencing higher rates of depression. Depression can be caused by our environment, family history, stressful life events, or alcohol and drug use. Some signs we may notice in children may include behavioral problems at school, changes in eating or sleeping habits, feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, low energy levels, and mood swings. According to Cleveland Clinic, depression, when diagnosed symptoms last between 2 weeks or longer.
Why talking to your children is important?
Talking to our children about feelings at times can be difficult. Especially with younger children, it is often hard for children to express how they are feeling and understand what the feelings mean.
Therapy is an important outlet for children experiencing signs of depression. This is especially so if parents or caregivers are unable to talk to their children about feelings easily. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a widely used intervention that can help treat depression. According to Cleveland Clinic, CBT helps children become more aware of their emotions, negative control behaviors, and think more positively. CBT also focuses on providing tools to guide children to cope with depression in healthier ways.
When should you consider therapy?
The overall clear picture here is to understand that depression rates have risen. If you happen to notice your child is acting out in school or at home, becoming more isolated, or not engaging in activities or hobbies they enjoy, you may want to consider how your child can get help. Simply starting with therapy can help provide a more precise plan for your child and family. After meeting with a therapist who can observe and evaluate what is needed, the therapist will discuss a plan with you.
As the pandemic has changed many lives, we can try to take things one day at a time. Even if you have it in your mind that therapy may not be possible for your family, the most you can do is try, even if it is just a session or a few sessions. The bottom line is change takes time. Noticing differences also takes time. As a society, we have to work together during this difficult time. Many mental health professionals are out there willing to work with your family, your children, and even yourself. Let’s work together and find ways to function day to day healthily.