Depression can be caused by a number of life experiences and circumstances. For young children, there usually have not been enough significant life events to cause depression, though it can happen. In younger children and adolescents, the occurrence of depression is usually the result of a genetic predisposition for depression or other mental health conditions. Mental illness is genetic as much as it is environmental, sometimes behavioral, or a form of maladaptive coping. If one or both parents has a mental health condition, there is a four to five time higher likelihood that a child will develop one as well. Depression for young children is most often a result of genetic predisposition. The presentation of symptoms in children with depression frequently present like the symptoms of an anxiety disorder or an anxious personality. Some parents might jump to a clingy attachment pattern or social difficulties to explain the symptoms. However, headaches, stomach aches, or a weakened immune system is an indication that a chemical imbalance of mood is causing physical effect on a child.
Symptoms of Depression in Young Children
Additional to symptoms mirroring anxiety are many symptoms which mirror the kind of major depression adults can go through. Children are young, robust, full of curiosity, and unadulterated wonder. Children are not meant to bear the weight of a hopeless world, feeling defeated by conditions out of their control. As well, children are not meant to feel extraordinary guilt. However, children who are experiencing depression can feel those very real, adult sensations of hopelessness, melancholy, and sadness, in addition to guilt. Though they may be lacking in the life experiences and vocabulary necessary for fully articulating themselves, children are authentic in feeling inexplicably low. Low feelings can also translate to self-esteem. Quickly, a child feels unable to perform on their own, participate in activities alone, or be bold in their decisions. Heightened emotions and loss of motivation create a magnitude of emotional frustration for a young child. Too commonly, young children and adolescents find a way into their parent’s medicine or liquor cabinet. Predisposed for addiction due to their genetic disposition toward mental illness, they attach quite quickly to the effects of drugs and alcohol, rapidly developing a substance abuse problem.
Is your child abusing drugs, alcohol, or house hold items to cope with depression? Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers long term residential treatment programs to adolescent and teenage boys seeking recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Life cleansing and foundation building, our treatment program helps families heal for a future of recovery. Lifelong recovery can be lived.
Call us today to find out more about our clinical program and academic support: (662) 598-4214