Lately, there are elements of your child’s behavior that you just don’t understand. They may have come on suddenly, or the perplexities may have been creeping in for awhile. While your son scores brilliantly on standardized tests, he doesn’t earn the grades he should. Your daughter has been doing well academically, but now struggles to complete homework assignments. He had a vibrant group of friends, but now just wants to play video games. She loved her sports team and now wants to quit, saying it’s just not her thing anymore. Your formerly lovable child is now always angry. Personal care has become an issue, organization and preparation are seriously lacking and you feel your child is always “somewhere else.”
Alzein Pediatric Associates understands that these signals are really symptoms. The behaviors you may see as lazy, rude, thoughtless, defiant or anti-social could indicate that your child is suffering from depression.
One in eight adolescents and teens suffer from depression, and one in three adults will be affected by depression symptoms at some time in their lives. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in children ages 10-18 and also in young adults ages 18-24. More of our children die from suicide than die from cancer, birth defects, pneumonia, influenza, chronic lung disease heart disease, AIDS and stroke COMBINED – a horrifying statistic made worse by the fact that many people are embarrassed by this diagnosis and still think depression can be willed away without external help.
Depression is a real illness – a serious medical condition. It’s an imbalance in the chemicals of the brain that control emotions and moods. With early intervention, depression can be treated effectively – just like any other illness. The worst thing a parent can do is think, “It’s not really bad enough to go to the doctor. We’ll wait another few months and see if he snaps out of it.”
Your Alzein Pediatric physician can perform a simple depression screening, gently asking your child the questions that could point to a definitive diagnosis – and help you get to the treatment that will help your child become fully healthy again. When an evaluation is done when symptoms are first noticed, your child may just need a few coping tools – simple ways to change their thought patterns – to fully recover. If medication is recommended for more severe depresssion, remember that medication is required to cure the flu, to cure cancer and to treat diabetes – also saving your child’s life.
If your child’s behavior has changed or is academically or socially destructive, call Alzein Pediatric Associates at 708-424-7600 or click here to make an appointment. We’ll do an exam to rule out any physical problems and a screening to understand what your child may be experiencing – and help with full recovery quickly.
Questions about depression and how family history can be a significant factor in its development? Call us! We are always happy to help!