Depression in children: signs that need to alert

Contrary to the preconceived idea that childhood is only insecure, children are also likely to suffer from depression, even before three years. Here are the signs that can alert you.

Depression is a disease that affects all ages, from childhood to the elderly. According to INSERM, "the prevalence of depressive disorders is estimated at 2.1% to 3.4% in children and 14% in adolescents." In these young patients, the diagnosis is more difficult to perform than in children. 'adult: the manifestations of depression vary depending on the stage of development, which changes the ability to introspection and communication. Although underestimated, childhood depression is not a transient state, but a real disease whose severity can increase over the years if it is not treated. It is therefore essential to know how to detect the signs.

The signs that must alert

According to Santé Publique France, childhood depression "can be manifested through withdrawal, absence or - on the contrary - irritability, agitation", but also frequent headaches / headaches, sleep disorders mood swings or eating disorders.

More specifically, the main sign of childhood depression is "depressed mood" which results in almost permanent sadness and a pessimistic view of the world, of others and of oneself, with ideas of worthlessness, sometimes even despair. . This mood disorder is associated with a psychomotor slowing which is manifested by intellectual function disorders, such as a memory deficit and problems of concentration. The child may then experience academic difficulties, anxiety, aggression, phobias and may even isolate himself from his classmates, his siblings or his parents. May also occur a loss of pleasure and desire to do the activities of daily life, even those usually pleasant, that psychiatrists call "anhedonia". The importance of words

Verbal manifestations of the child can also alert parents. Phrases like "I'm bad", "I'm coming to nothing" or "I'm naughty" illustrate a deep lack of self-confidence. Just as "I do not care", "I want more" or "I want nothing" confirm a loss of desire or interest. Being able to listen to your child and measure the frequency of these negative claims is essential to diagnose the first signs of depression. Note that it is the change of behavior over a long period that will translate a depressive state, otherwise we will speak more of depression or anger.

The most common reasons for childhood depression

External events such as parental separation, conflicting parenting, death, relocation, emotional deprivation or a new school can trigger a depressive state in the child. "The child is like a sponge, he captures all the messages, the emotions, including those that are not verbal.If they are not explained to him, they can have an impact on him, without him being able to understand. what it is, "explains the child psychiatrist Patrice Huerre.

It remains essential to establish a link with the child, to discuss regularly with him and if necessary, to make changes in his environment. According to the psychotherapist Béatrice Millêtre, quoted by the daily, some children "crack because they feel they do not understand anything about the codes of society, they lose their bearings and their confidence in themselves. helps to decipher the world around them. " And this, even at three years.

If in doubt, it is recommended to consult a child psychiatrist who will establish the diagnosis and may propose appropriate treatment.

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