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When you are a concerned and actively involved parent, you can tell when your child is not feeling quite like themselves. Their behaviors and mannerisms change, they speak and act differently, and they just seem like a different person than they normally are. However, when your child begins to act down, unmotivated, or uninspired and they do not come develop an illness like the cold or flu as usual, you may wonder what is causing their blues. Get to know more about depression in children so you can find out if your child is suffering from depression and what you can do to help.
Diagnosing Depression in Children
If you suspect that your child is depressed, the first step you will want to take is to schedule them for an appointment with a child psychologist or counselor. When your child goes to their first appointment with the child psychologist, generally you and your child will sit down with the psychologist first to help your child get comfortable and acclimated. Then, you will be asked to step out of the room for a bit so they can talk privately.
What will follow is known as psychological testing. There are numerous forms of psychological testing and the tests used by your child's psychologist will depend on the preferences of the psychologist as well as your child's age. Personality and behavioral assessments are often used to help diagnose depression in children as well as adults.
The difference with children is how such an assessment is approached. While some psychologists prefer to give adults written assessments to get more honest responses, this is more difficult with children. Instead, these psychological tests are usually done conversationally or through activities such as drawing pictures about how they are feeling or by looking at pictures and choosing which one they can relate to most. This helps your child to feel more comfortable and breaks the association with school and being graded that a written test may trigger.
Your child's psychologist will also likely perform a clinical interview with you (without your child in the room) to gather family histories, pertinent medical information, and your observations of your child's behavior and moods. This will also help in diagnosing depression.
Treating Depression in Childen
Childhood depression can be treated in a few different ways. Psychotherapy is one of the most popular treatments for children with depression. These continued sessions with a child psychologist help your child to talk about and process their feelings and better understand themselves and the reasons behind their depression.
Oftentimes, therapy focuses on the roles that thoughts affect behaviors and vice versa and how your child can make changes in one to improve the other. For example, if their depression makes them want to lay down and do nothing, a behavioral change of getting up and doing some form of physical exercise or activity can break the cycle.
If psychotherapy alone does not do the trick, you may need to also take your child to a psychiatrist who can prescribe medications to help balance out the brain chemistry imbalances that could be contributing to your child's depression. Sometimes the hormones in the brain are not being released in proper amounts causing such mental health issues as depression and anxiety and the remedy is the (temporary) help of prescription medications.
Now that you know more about depression and your child, you can get started in the process of determining if your child is indeed depressed so you can help them overcome it.Share
12 November 2015