Depression In Children
Depression in children is often misunderstood and often incorrectly diagnosed because so little is still known about how the brain and emotions interact. Though behavioral sciences have come a long way, most doctors who are treating depression in children are basing care upon what the parent and child report as opposed to a lab test where most other types of illnesses can be confirmed with facts. Depressive states are diagnosed, mostly, based on educated guess work. And, while it is far from perfect, it is constantly improving as more is learned and more experimenting proves effective. To begin the journey of understanding what happens in the mind of a child that leads to depressive episodes, one must understand that there are several factors at play. Getting the right information from medically published sources and from trusted doctors can help equip those who have had an emotionally troubled childhood or those who have an emotionally troubled child get the help and support needed. This article is based on current research available, but is limited in scope. Those seeking help are encouraged to look further and to discuss all options with a doctor who is specialized in the psychiatric care of children.
The journey of discovering the truth about childhood emotional disturbances should begin with understanding that the word depression is used to describe several different emotional states that can vary in degrees of severity. Every person has an occasional blue mood or sense of feeling down. These episodes can be triggered by circumstances, fatigue, or hormonal imbalances. While this can be a form of depression in children, it is rarely chronic or life threatening. Clinical depressive states are another matter. When a child is clinically depressed, he or she will suffer severe personality changes and find the simple things in life hard to deal with. All levels of depression may need to be treated, some for a short term and others for longer periods of time. Treating depression in children is not an easy task, as children grow, brains develop and hormones change, making it difficult to pinpoint one medication or a combination of medications that can be effective for the long term.
The mildest forms of depression can be initiated by circumstances in life. A child who may not be prone to feeling blue could experience many different levels of depression when there is a traumatic death in the family. Treating depression in children who have lost a parent or significant loved one will depend upon how long the child exhibits behavioral problems. If there is a family history of mental health issues, a traumatic situation can often trigger a severe depressed mood that is prolonged for a period of time. The treatment and care will depend upon each individual child and his or her family history.
When a child is clinically depressed, he or she is at risk for many other factors. When there are prolonged episodes of lethargy, loss of interest in activities, and severe anger, depression in children can lead to drug abuse, risky behaviors, and even suicide attempts. Parents and care takers of children that are suspect of being clinically depressed should seek intervention right away. Most treatment plans will include both medications and counseling in an attempt to not only address the physiological state, but also the emotional state, as well. Professional counseling can also help equip a child with the tools needed to develop better coping skills. Some behaviors are thought to be learned from parents and others are thought to be inherited. It is difficult to know with certainty, but when depression is prominent in a family history, the chances of children struggling with this illness are likely. Treating depression in children can include altering some family lifestyles that are prone to stress or instability.
Dealing with depression can be hard on the entire family. Parents can become confused and experience their own feelings of hopelessness as they watch a child suffer and struggle to enjoy life. Prayer is the only sure answer to these types of problems. Prayer not only brings God's help and perspective into the situation, but prayer also relieves burdens. "Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me: it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from they presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there." (Psalm 139:5-8)
There are other signs that can indicate that a child is struggling with some level of depressed moods. Depression in children can be manifested in several ways including loss of appetite, headaches or stomach problems, an increase of sleep or a inability to sleep, difficulty concentrating with grades falling, and low self esteem. Some of these symptoms are also associated with other illnesses, so a complete examination should be called for. Most importantly, don't delay. Thoughts of suicide or self inflicted harm can result with untreated or unaddressed depressed states.
Natural Remedies For DepressionNatural remedies for depression have received a recurrent interest as contemporary culture has become more enthused about herbs and therapies used in times past. While serious depressive problems are linked to bi-polar and other organically caused issues, there is a vast array of typical individuals who can benefit from natural treatments to lift general depression. Medical doctors suggest that most people within the course of their lifetime will experience an episode of moodiness or depression that may need some attention in order to resume normal emotional patterns. "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee..." (Isaiah 43:2) Most experts agree that depression is a complex presentation of emotional, psychological and physical causalities that can be difficult to isolate. There are also general natural health suggestions that can be followed that will help any individual deal with general depressive symptoms.
Depressive symptoms are experienced by just about everyone at one time or another as a result of traumatic loss, chronic physical illness, loss of job, impaired relationships or any number of typical life circumstances. In the past, a common medical treatment for depressive symptoms was to ingest prescribed medications such as anti-depressants and sleeping pills. Anti-depressants would give a boost in emotional levels during the day and sleeping pills would help an anxious person go to sleep at night. While these medications continue to be in use for many cases, the growing awareness of side affects has spurred an interest in alternative treatments through herbs for depression or other natural remedies for depression.
Some of the most commonly used herbs that have been used for generations include St. Johns Wart, ginseng, and gingko biloba. St. Johns Wart is one of the natural remedies for depression that has been used widely for years and has seen a heightened use of it as an alternative to anti-depressants. It is one of the leading herbs for depression that has been thoroughly tested as well as rates high among its users. For people who are experiencing moderate to mild symptoms, St. Johns Wart has proven to lessen the symptoms 50% or more with no common side affects. The comparison of St. Johns wart to prozac or other drugs has fared well with users who wish to avert symptoms of these medications which include restlessness, sexual dysfunction and other problems. A recommended dosage is 900 mg. a day of the herb is suggested. Some can drink it in tea form, but it is recommended to be careful with this because of the lack of standardization in dosage.
Benefits include more restful sleep, less anxiety symptoms, better blood circulation throughout the body, and a defence against viruses. Other herbs for depression that have met with great acceptance are ginseng and gingko biloba. Ginseng is widely known for its popularity in China for thousands of years. Used for a variety of ailments, ginseng is now growing very popular in the US for its anti-depressant properties. Ginseng provides a quick remedy for mental alertness, a lift from depression and fatigue. Many elderly patients benefit from this herb as it provides mental acuity, especially for those suffering from Alzheimers or hardening of the arteries. This natural remedy can be taken most easily in tea or capsule form and will provide a general lift to cognitive functioning. Ginseng can be taken in dosages from 800 mg. to 2 grams by an adult. Caution is to be exercised for those who are taking blood thinners or aspirin since this herb affects circulatory functions. Too much ginseng can elevate blood pressure, so wise usage of the herb is recommended.
Gingko biloba is also associated with mental acuity, making it quite popular among the contemporary culture that values natural remedies. Gingko biloba is one of the foremost herbs for depression used by many consumers and is the best selling of all herbal supplements. This herb helps improve circulatory health and has been shown to improve mental alertness, depression and overall physical health. The anti-oxidant properties of the plant provides protection for pulmonary and vision health. Since there is no standardized process that is required by the FDA at this time to insure a quality product, be sure to check for less than 5 ppm of gingkolic acid that appears in any supplement. This is a pharmaceutical standard set for safe consumption of this plant. Ginkgo biloba can be found in many forms throughout local health food stores, drug stores, or online health establishments.
Liquid, tablets, capsules, concentrates and other forms can be purchased to help with depressive symptoms. Varying dosages apply depending on the ailment with approximately 240 mg. suggested for those suffering from moderate to mild depression. The herb is not only used as one of many natural remedies for depression, but also can be used for Alzheimers, cataracts, diabetes, and asthma. The remedy should be taken up to 3 months in order to notice the maximum effects for any health condition. Herbs for depression combined with a regimen of healthy eating, exercise and daily, enjoyable diversions can effectively reduce problematic symptoms that hinder a normal life.