Many experts believe that depression is on the rise for both children and adults. It is estimated that between 5 to 6% of all Americans suffer from depression, approximately 4% of teens, and 1% of children (many years ago most experts didn’t believe young children could get depressed; however, that is not correct). Fortunately depression is very treatable for most people. There are some great medications and many things you can do to alleviate depression. Depression can be primarily chemical, primarily stress and environmentally related, and primarily related to your own thinking and behavior; however usually it is partially caused by a combination.
Some of the things you can do to alleviate depression are to reduce yours and your child’s stress (which we’ll talk about in another section), improve diet, eliminate drugs and alcohol (alcohol is a depressant), and aerobic exercise (sports like basketball and football do not count.) See your doctor and if necessary ask for medication.
Everyone is different in the way the react to different medications so it is very important to consult closely with your doctor and keep him or her updated on your progress, or lack of progress, and symptoms. Even if you are trying to manage your symptoms without medication, it is highly recommended and important that you work closely with your doctor and keep him or her apprised of how you are doing. In addition, speaking with a good counselor can be very helpful and in fact, for many types of depression working both with your doctor and a mental health counselor is recommended. If something’s not working, ask your doctor and/or mental health professional for other options. As mentioned previously depression can be treated very well for most people.
Depression can manifest itself in a number of different ways. Typically when you think of someone who is depressed, you think of someone who is withdrawn, quiet, frowns most of the time or has little facial expression at all; however, this is not always the case. Sometimes depression can be manifest in aggression and anger.
Prenatal depression is not uncommon and can have an adverse impact on both the mother and child. If you are pregnant, take care of yourself, see your doctor, take vitamins and minerals as recommended by your doctor, eat right, exercise as approved by your doctor, avoid alcohol and drugs (including tobacco).
Postnatal (Maternal/Parental Depression)
It’s not fun to be a depressed parent and it’s not healthy, physically or emotionally for your child either. See your doctor and/or mental health professional and do all the things listed above.
Two of the strongest predictors of depression in infants and young children are prenatal depression of the mother and a depressed parent after birth. Infant and childhood depression can have a long term impact on the child. Often there are things you can do for yourself, the environment, and directly for your child which will have a positive impact; but do not ignore it. There are often free or low cost services for infants and young children with disabilities and/or mental health difficulties in the United States and many other developed countries. Speak with your physician, Health Department, or other health care professional.
I am doing very well and have been for many years; but am personally and intimately acquainted with major depression. Being well is much better than being depressed and I watch what I eat, get good, almost daily aerobic exercise, and continue to take a low dosage of a medication. I also practice a great deal of stress reduction. All these things have been a tremendous help to me.
All around the world, depression is on the rise in both children and adults. There are many factors that contribute to this, including: diet, exercise, stress, bad economy, lack of employment, and a lack of self-efficacy.
Key terms for either the Google Scholar or Google Parenting Search Engine below.
Talk Therapy Boosts Response to Antidepressants
Maternal Depression Can Undermine the Development of Young Children
Depression in Children and Adolescents
Depression in Pregnancy and Postpartum
NEW STUDY SHOWS NEARLY TWO-FOLD RISK OF PERINATAL DEPRESSION
Symptoms of Childhood Depression
Signs Your Child is Depressed
Teen Depression: Signs, Symptoms, and How to Help
Slow Brain Growth In Babies Linked To Depression During Pregnancy