How to help your child with depression

Treating depression in your child.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Keep this in mind.


Helping a person with mental illness can be hard as it is, but when it is your own child it’s a bit different. Parenting comes with so many obstacles and mental illness, depression in particular, is a big one. It can be very hard on the mental health of parents to watch their child slowly withdraw from school and friends or partake in reckless and careless behaviors. It may be hard to withhold yelling and becoming angry at them for their behaviors, but it is important to learn how to respond to these things and help a child who is suffering from depression while also respecting them.


However, it is important to realize depression isn’t always obvious and presents uniquely in each individual.


Signs Your Child May be Suffering from Depression


  • Irritability, short fused 


As a result of hormones and mental illness combined, teens who suffer from depression can be quick to get angry. Commonly, when they are approached about their recent behaviors or asked if they are doing okay, most will become defensive and angry. Depression can make each day feel as if it is purely a survival task, struggling to get through a normal routine while battling dark and hopeless thoughts, this can be very frustrating and causes the world to be very hard to understand thus resulting in increased anger and irritability.


  • Does not enjoy usual activities


Depression can consume even what once was your passion and warp it into something miserable. As a result of the intense fatigue and hopeless thoughts, it can be hard to enjoy what you once did and simple tasks can feel almost impossible. If you see your teen has withdrawn from friends, sports, or any usual hobbies this could be a big sign they are suffering from depression.


  • Withdrawn from social activities, friends, and/or family


Depression can cause even conversation to feel like a hassle or in some cases just pointless. It can also cause it to hard for your teen to connect with others, wondering why they are not as happy and content as their peers. Not only this, but paired with poor self-esteem and the stress of judgmental peers it can cause social anxiety when in school or other social activities, thus causing them to withdraw and isolate. If you notice your teen spends an abundance of the day in their room, and this is not normally how they spend their time, it can be a sign of depression.


  • Persistent fatigue

When a person suffers from depression, symptoms of fatigue go far beyond tiredness or a bad sleep schedule. The fatigue is caused by a chemical imbalance of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These are neurotransmitters that maintain energy levels, appetite, and sleep, and as a result of depression they are not regulated as normal. Due to this, the neurotransmitters are not firing as quickly or consistently to stimulate the muscle fibers, this causes the body and limbs to feel heavy as if you had just done strenuous physical activity.


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