Depression is one of the most prominent diseases in the country today, and many doctors like to throw antidepressants around like candy in hopes of combating the problem. This is a big problem in itself, for many reasons. One is that many of these drugs just do not work, and the side-effects and health complications far outweigh any so called benefits. It is important to stop and deal with this disease early, and for many, depression starts in early childhood, especially during the teenage years. If you look at many of the medications that are prescribed, none of them are recommended for children under 18, because they can make their symptoms much worse.
Over 8% of adolescents are suffering from some form of depression, and these numbers are rising. The important thing is to take action as early as possible, to prevent them from being addicted to antidepressants later on in life. There are many different factors that contribute to this disease in young people, from chemical imbalances, stresses at school and at home, as well as traumatic events. In worse case scenarios, it can lead to attempts at suicide. Many parents that have had to bury their children often ask themselves how they could have prevented this, or if they had only known the signs. Unfortunately, in many of these cases, the signs and symptoms were right there in front of them.
First of all, there are many different signs of depression in kids that parents can watch out for. The first things to watch out for are indistinct complaints of physical discomfort, muscle, head, or stomach aches, or being tired all of the time. Continuous problems with school work, especially where there was not any before. Missing classes and skipping school altogether are some of the signs. Emotional outbursts for no real reason at all, like shouting, aggressive behavior, bouts of crying, as well as others. If they start to isolate themselves, are not interested in activities anymore, avoid their friends, these are also signs of depression as well.
The problem is, parents dealing with their kids when they suspect they are experiencing depression, often downplay the seriousness of the situation. They also have problems confronting their kids, or try to be their “friend”. In fact, you need to take the opposite direction and be proactive about it. While you can talk to your kids about these symptoms, in the end you are the parent, and must take control of the situation.
There are many different ways to deal with depression in children, without the use of antidepressants. Sometimes, it is a physical issue that is contributing to the overall problem. If there is a history of bipolar disorder, or thyroid problems in your family, there is a chance that this is the underlying problem. There are tests that can find out, and some medications to balance hormone levels. These are not antidepressants, and if your doctor starts talking to you about giving your child them, remind them that there are many different alternatives, and steer them in these directions instead.
If your child does not have some kind of physical problem that is attributing to his or her depression, sit down and talk to them about it. Do not be put off if your child acts like nothing is wrong, point out that you are their parents, you are concerned for their well being, and that you want to help them. Adding supplements to their diets, like Omega-3 and 6, cutting down on processed foods, as well as other dietary changes can help. Try to spend more time with them, take them out on trips with you, get them out doing things, all of these are natural alternatives to antidepressants. Therapy is another outlet for kids, because they can confide in an unbiased person.
Encourage and praise your teens every chance you get, and let them know that you do not care if they are not getting the best grades all the time, or win first place at everything they do. Let them know that you care about them, and just want them to do the best job they can. If they are getting frustrated in school, get them a tutor, or a mentor to help them.
There are many different resources on depression, as well as some staggering facts about antidepressants. You have a wealth of information online, with many different websites. Take advantage of these and learn as much as you can.