How to know if a child has signs of depression? Is it genetic? Know it here | The Financial Express

How to know if a child has signs of depression? Is it genetic? Know it here

Are young kids prone to depression? What are the reasons. Know it here

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Here all you need to know about depression in children

Young kids do go through depression. And it’s not the same thing as sadness that we go through. Also, we can’t label a kid to be having depression if you notice the kid to be sad. A child can be diagnosed with depression when one feels consistently sad and that starts interfering with their regular life such as studies, withdrawing from friends, constantly not wanting to go to social events and so on. To understand more about it, we got in touch with Dr. Pritika B. Gonsalves, Child Psychologist at Humm Care. Here’s what she has to say:

How to know a child has signs of depression?

Some of the signs are:

– Getting angry quickly

– Sensitive to rejection

– Appetite starts changing

– Problems in sleep

– Crying often

– Unable to focus

– Lack of energy

– Feeling unworthy

– Suicidal thoughts

You will not find every symptom in the child. And symptoms differ from child to child. There will be young children who will cover up their symptoms, too, due to stigma, but if you observe closely, you will find out about their problems. For children who are 12 and above to feel better, they try alcohol or drugs, and in many cases of teen suicides, the underlying cause is depression. Among the genders, girls are pretty likely to attempt suicide, but boys attempt suicide and will go to a length to kill themselves. You will find depression among boys below the age of 10 more common, while girls, usually by 16 years of age, suffer from depression more.

If the symptoms continue for more than two weeks, the parent or adult must seek help from mental health professionals. There needs to be a proper diagnosis and assessment to be done to be diagnosed with depression.

Is Depression Genetic?

Yes, depression can be genetic, but even though you might have a gene that gives you a chance to be at risk of getting depression. Genetics can be one of the causes of depression, but other causes can lead to depression too.

Depression comes along with many other factors, such as past trauma and environmental factors. But genetics has a more significant role in an individual developing depression. In some studies, it was found that individuals who have first-degree relatives, such as a sibling, parent etc., who had depression have three times the risk of getting depression compared to the other population.

It is being found too among the genders, the genetics of depression plays more role in women being at high risk of depression than men. Nature Genetics Journal, published in 2018, mentioned numerous genetic variants linked to depression. They also said that physical variations in the brain also matter in the development of depression. Still researchers haven’t yet found a single gene that could play a significant factor in developing depression. At the same time, scientists feel that various genes play a small role in an individual’s life to be at risk for depression.

How Can Depression Be Treated?

Depression can be treated. An early diagnosis also is beneficial to get healed faster. For severe cases, recommended medication as well as therapy. CBT which is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, is a valuable therapy method for Depression.

Your genes play a crucial role which shows which treatment will work for you better. Also, there are some researchers and doctors who have said that genes have an impact on drug metabolism. People need to know that treatment and healing take time.  The treatment plan might change, and you need to be patient. As for different people, the treatment will vary from person to person. Depression in children needs to be handled well as well as professional help is required for it.

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First published on: 18-01-2023 at 10:00 IST