Childhood Depression - The monster within!!!
“Ronnit, 9yr old walked into the mind mantra clinic very angry and irritable. If it was not for the towering presence of his father, he would have thrown verbal and physical tantrums. His parents were worried with his increasing bad behavior complaints from school and decreasing grades over the last one year”
“Mona, 12yr old entered the mind mantra clinic with tears in her eyes, hugging her teddy bear very tightly. Since 2yrs she stopped taking interest in studies, would sit long hours at one place, wouldn’t play with her friends and would cry without reason. The preoccupied parents had taken her to every astrologer, tantric, general physician in the area, but nothing had helped.”
Both of them were cases of Childhood depression.
What is Childhood Depression?
Clinical Depression is a scientifically proved illness. The most deadly form of this illness is its childhood manifestation.
In a child or adolescent the brain is very young and in developing stage. If such a brain is exposed to untreated clinical depression, permanent changes start happening in the brain structure and its blood circulation. This makes the child vulnerable to develop adult psychological illness like dysthymia (chronic depression), generalized anxiety disorder, uncontrolled anger, impulse control disorder, self-harming behavior and personality disorders.
These illnesses cloud the happiness seeking behavior of an individual, and lead him to walk the deep dark streets of altered socially-unacceptable emotional and sexual behaviors patterns.
Symptoms of Childhood depression?
The child has to be between 5-14yrs. If over the past 2months has developed 3 or more of the following, parents should seek professional help:
• several episodes of sadness, crying and tearfulness seen over the day, and more than 5 thru out the week.
• Decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities.
• negative thoughts are prominent
• Constantly bored, and complaints of low energy.
• started losing friends, becoming alone. isolating himself from friends.
• Low self esteem and guilt
• Extremely sensitive to failure, rejection or minor scolding.
• Increased irritability, anger, or hostility. episodes of breaking or throwing objects.
• Difficulty in carrying a happy and nice conversation. Constant use of sarcasm, foul language, or taunts.
• Frequent complaints of headaches and stomachaches without any medical condition being present.
• Frequent absences from school or complaints of inattentiveness from teacher
• Poor concentration and dramatic decrease in grades compared to previous years.
• A change in weight or eating pattern. A change in sleeping pattern.
• Trying to spend more time with friends than with family members. any episode of running away from home.
• Thoughts or expressions of suicidal or self-hurting behavior.
Why does childhood depression progress?
The illness reaches alarming proportions because all multi-fold therapies are not applied together. In fact they are done in a phased way which decreases their curing potentials.
Parents normally notice change in behavior within 3months of starting of the problem. The normal ritual followed is:
a. 1st they try counseling the kid.- unfortunately in most households this phase is mishandled. Parents compare the kid to their own situation. Instead of motivating the kid, the child’s mind starts feeling guilty and more depressed.
Some parents compare the child with some relative or friend. This again triggers more depression as the child’s mind starts feeling worthless in front of his only support system.
The last technique is parents tell a child what actions to take to tackle the situation. Since these actions are based on the socio-cultural exposure parents have got, not what the child has got, it has a high chances of failing.
e.g. In the case of Ronnit, he was being teased by a few classmates for being shorter. His mother told him to ignore them, and father told him to fight. When he tried to fight he was beaten up. This broke his trust in parental advice.
b. 2nd is to meet some holistic healer. – help by providing amulets, prayers and mantra’s for success. Since the results aren’t immediate, the depression keeps ruminating in the child’s brain.
Many times the rituals themselves make the child feel hopeless.
c. 3rd is to consult their pediatrician or general physician- most of them give good counseling. It helps the child in confidence building. Since a child requires constant boost of confidence, and consult the doctor is not feasible, over a period of time, the single episode of counseling loses its effect.
d. 4th is to finally consult a psychiatrist. This happens when 90% parents get frustrated by the failure of all “holistic” therapies. By this time the communication gap between parent and child normally reaches alarming levels. The behavior, emotional self and scholastic performance of the child is highly unacceptable by both parents and society.
If you identify a child with possible depressive symptoms, alert his parents. Make sure he gets proper professional help that tackles all aspects of the problem. Emotional, psychological and spiritual.