Depression in Children

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About three weeks ago I was watching NBC nightly news when a segment came on talking about depression in children.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry describes depression in children and teens as follows:

Not only adults become depressed. Children and teenagers also may have depression, as well. More than one in seven teens experience depression each year. Depression is a treatable medical illness. Depression is more than just a couple of sad days. It involves ongoing feelings of sadness or irritability that interfere with a child or adolescent’s ability to function.

Children under stress, who experience loss, or who have attentional, learning, conduct, or anxiety disorders are at a higher risk for depression. An increased use of social media is also associated with increased risk of depression. Depression also tends to run in families.

The behavior of depressed children and teenagers may differ from the behavior of depressed adults. Child and adolescent psychiatrists advise parents to be aware of signs of depression in their youngsters.

If one or more of these signs of depression persist, parents should seek help:

  • Decreased interest in or enjoyment of favorite activities
  • Frequent sadness, tearfulness, crying
  • Hopelessness
  • Persistent boredom; low energy
  • Social isolation such as withdrawing from friends and family
  • Low self esteem and guilt
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
  • Increased irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Difficulty with relationships
  • Frequent complaints of physical illnesses such as headaches and stomachaches
  • Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school
  • Poor concentration
  • A major change in eating and/or sleeping patterns
  • Talk of or efforts to run away from home
  • Thoughts or expressions of suicide or self destructive behavior

A child who used to play often with friends may now spend most of the time alone and without interests. Things that were once fun now bring little joy to the depressed child.

 

As I watched the NBC special and thought about how it is a growing health issue with children and teenagers my thoughts went back to several young adults that I have recently treated. I would like to share their stories as there is hope for a cure without drugs.

The first patient was a 21-year-old who for the last year had been “melancholic’ and in her words “I feel that I am just going through the motions. Instead of feeling like I want to get this done it is like I have to get this done.” On asking when this started she recounted how her grandfather, to whom she was very close to, passed away. I gave her a high potency Homeopathic remedy and after just two days she commented that “It feels like a cloud has lifted. I am much more clear-headed.”

The second patient was a 15-year-old boy. His mother describes him as being pessimistic, depressed, irresolute, and negative. As he sat next to his mom, his affect was flat. He also complained of not being motivated and have had thoughts of ending his life. But, he also had some unusual fears. He describes them as “ fear of things that he could not foresee. He would get fixated on it every day. Things like car accidents or getting sick would occupy his mind. He said, “Like mom will be going to the store and I will think that she will get in an accident and never come back.”

His mom commented, “this started 8 years ago when his dad died. It is like he has not been able to grieve his death.”

On his one month follow up I could see that his countenance had changed.
He said I’m laughing more, decision making is improved, and not dwelling on those fears. When asked how much better he was feeling he said 75%. Both this young man and the 21-year-old young woman responded well to the Homeopathic remedy, Phosphoric Acidium.