Identifying depression in children

 

REACTIVE DEPRESSION is what most children will experience. This depression occurs in response to a loss such as the divorce or separation of parents, being placed in new surroundings, attending a new school, being separated from loved ones such as grandparents, etc. This depression does not us- ually require medical treatment, although it may require some counseling sessions with a trained therapist. A child psychologist or trained counselor will be able to help your child develop coping skills and put everything in perspective. It is vital for you, as the parent, to encourage your child with praise and support. Assure your child that you will always love him. Work with the therapist to build a sense of security in your child.

If left untreated, reactive depression can lead to the more serious forms of depression (such as dysthymia or major) where the brain chemicals become unbalanced and stay that way.

OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER is usually not referred to as a form of depression, but researchers have discovered the same neurotransmitters responsible for the behavior(s) are the same ones affected in depression. OCD is called the "doubting disease" and results in obsessive-compulsive behaviors such as washing hands repeatedly, brushing teeth until gums bleeds, taking numerous showers or baths, etc. This disorder got its name from its victims never being "sure enough" that what they've done has been done well enough. Usually the behaviors revolve around personal hygiene, but this is not exclusive.

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