Depressive Disorders

If you suspect your child is experiencing any form of depressive disorder, take action. British actress and TV presenter Denise Welch explains.

Diagnoses of conditions including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder are on the rise in children and adolescents—almost one in four young people will experience depression before they are 19 years old.

If you suspect your child is experiencing any form of depressive disorder, take action. The longer the suffering continues, the more likely it is that it will disrupt their lives and develop into a long-term disorder.

Some of the key signs to look out for are fatigue and sluggishness, irritability, and a lack of interest or enjoyment in everyday things. They may also struggle with sleep, confidence and concentration. Clinical depression robs its sufferers of all emotions—it takes every ounce of joy out of their lives. It is therefore a common misconception depressed people are always sad—because sadness is an emotion.

Depressive conditions can also manifest in the form eating disorders, including both anorexia and obesity.

One of the best ways to help is to get to understand the problem. Although clinical depression may be caused by external factors—such as family difficulties, bullying, bereavement or abuse—it can also be endogenous. This means it comes and goes of it’s own accord like many physical conditions.

If your child is unwilling to open up to you, suggest another responsible person they could share their feelings with and seek further medical advice and support from a doctor. If necessary, a doctor can refer your child to a specialist for treatment including therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy. At home, show your child that you care and offer them support by listening to them and understanding their needs.

Voice: Denise Welch