It seems like every time we turn on the television, see a mother grieving over her dead children or hear a mother talking about her anxiety depression, it’s a horror show. It’s true that many mothers suffer from serious anxiety and depression as they care for their children, but does this type of depression affect more mothers than it does fathers? Increasingly, it is women who are affected by anxiety depression and in particular among working mothers.
How common is it? That depends on your definition. Benoit and Dolgan note that most children with depressive disorders also suffer from anxiety. Some experts, however, see the anxiety as the underlying problem for the vast majority of these kids. One of them is Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, founder and director of the New York University Child Study Center, and director of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU/Belleview Hospital Center.
DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY IN A CHILD
This type of depression can occur just as easily to a man as to a woman. It can be hard to tell whether the parent of an infant is suffering from an depression episode, since the symptoms of one may not appear in the child. Some mothers report they feel a depression or anxiety attack coming on before the baby arrives, while other mothers say their first experience of an anxiety or depression episode came weeks after the child was born
Since it is so hard to determine when a woman first feels an depression episode, it’s important for mothers to know when they might have a problem.
There are specific signs of anxiety and depression that women should look for if they think their child might be having an depression. If a mother notices these warning signs, she should seek help immediately.
When a mother has an depression episode, the first thing she will notice is the change in her sleeping and diet habits.
She will usually be overly tired and irritable, which makes it difficult for her to care for her children. Another sign of an anxiety or depression episode can be the mother suddenly becomes clingy and doesn’t want to be separated from the baby. This tends to stress the mother and makes it even harder to care for her children.
depression can also lead to isolation in the mother. She may refuse to be with her babies and will try and avoid all contact with the outside world, including her partner and friends.
The mother may feel sad, lonely, and depressed, which can lead to increased feelings of guilt. This can eventually lead to deeper depression. Anxiety and depression can also cause mothers to bottle feed their babies, as they may associate feeding time with anxiety or crying.
Symptoms of anxiety and depression differ from one individual to another, but there are some commonalities among those who experience these conditions.depression can make a person withdrawn and isolated.
It can also make it difficult for a person to concentrate, focus, and focus on tasks. It can make a person sad or depressed and can lead to the person doing things out of self-defense such as cutting, eating, and picking at the skin.
Children who are exposed toand depression early in life are more likely to develop chronic anxiety problems and depression as adults. Some children may never experience these symptoms, while others may experience these symptoms many times throughout their lives. The symptoms of anxiety and depression vary from one child to another, but there are some common symptoms.
A child who suffers from depression will usually experience restlessness, irritability, a loss of appetite, and difficulty sleeping. A child suffering from depression will be withdrawn and lonely.
Anxiety and depression are serious conditions that should not be ignored. Both conditions need to be treated. There are treatment options available, including therapy and medication. If you or a loved one are dealing with depression or other symptoms, seek help immediately.
Signs Your Child Is Depressed
According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, any of these symptoms may mean your child is depressed:
- Frequent sadness, tearfulness, and/or crying
- Hopelessness and loniliness
- Decreased interest in activities or inability to enjoy previously favorite activities.
- Persistent boredom; low energy. “The hallmark of depression is this inability to have joy,” Dolgan says. “There’s this low energy, this shutting away, shutting down.”
- Social isolation, poor communication. “A child given the opportunity to play with friends who prefers to be alone” may be depressed, Dolgan says.
- Low self-esteem and guilt.
- Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
- Increased irritability, anger, or hostility
- Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school.
- Poor concentration
- A major change in eating and/or sleeping patterns
- Talk of or efforts to run away from home
Most parents first take their child to a pediatrician. Unfortunately, many pediatricians lack the specific training needed to correctly tell when a child is depressed or anxious.
“I think there is a public health problem,” Koplewicz says. “You have 16,000 child psychiatrists and 8,000 child psychologists, and 8 million children and teens who need help. We have to decide whether to train pediatricians and nurses and counselors in the diagnosis of this disorder so we can get this properly diagnosed.”
Koplewicz believes that the heart of the problem is that insurance companies are less willing to pay for mental health care than for physical health care.
“As a nation we don’t treat psychiatric illness as we do physical illness,” he says. “There are not enough experts. We have to demand from insurance companies to get parity, and pediatricians must get sufficient time to see kids to make this decision. It is a matter of whether we get training so the diagnosis can be made. Learning all your diagnostic skills from the pharmaceutical representative is a problem.”
Children younger than 5 years old can get depressed. But their depression most often reflects the mental state of their primary caregiver — usually their mother, Benoit says.
“When you ask teachers and parents to rate a child’s level of depression, there is usually only about 5-10% overlap in their ratings. For example, the teacher might report that a child has difficulties making friends in class, but the parent might not notice this issue at home. Some people would view that overlap as the truth about a child’s well-being and areas of disagreement as errors, but we need to explore the possibility that they each are seeing different aspects of children’s behaviour and mental health,”