Anxiety and depression in children are more common than you might think. Studies estimate that as many as 5% of children experience some form of anxiety disorder or even depression.
These conditions often manifest themselves through avoidance of situations that typically cause stress. Children may also exhibit several behaviors such as restlessness, distractibility, and physical twitching. These reactions are mainly caused by overwhelming feelings of fear and worry about everyday events, things, and people.
Suppose you are a parent or caregiver of a child with the condition generalized as anxiety disorder or depression. In that case, you may be interested in knowing what causes the situation and do your best to provide the best treatment forms to your children.
This article will discuss the most common causes of anxiety disorders and depression in children and the most common and practical approaches to treatments for such cases.
1) Causes of depression and anxiety in children
Genetics is thought to influence the development of anxiety and depression in children. Anxiety and depression symptoms seem to be inherited, and it may even be possible that more than one child may display similar behavior patterns and signs with their siblings.
Not only this, but many ongoing kinds of research are trying to investigate whether anxiety and depression are linked to hyperactive serotonin levels in children or whether children with ADHD may have a greater level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in their brains that could be causing their anxiety or depression.
- Brain chemistry
Besides genetic reasons, brain chemistry appears to be related to levels of happiness or sadness in children. In simple terms, children who have a more significant amount of Dopamine (Dopamine is an amino acid present in the body and is responsible for many functions) in their brains tend to be happier and healthier.
However, it is very possible that children would have low levels of such a chemical, and that can be caused by a variety of causes such as school problems, problems between parents, or medical conditions that may altogether lower their self-esteem and make them feel hopeless, sad and easily frustrated which will entirely put them at risk of depression and anxiety.
- Hormonal and environmental reasons
As children grow, they experience more frequent changes in their hormones, and it is all a natural part of growing. With that in mind, this can trigger depressive or anxious feelings at a different rate between all children. Not only this, children who live in complex environments, where they have many different stressing situations to engage in, or they are projected continuously to problems, especially problems between parents, often report higher levels of stress. Thus, they may be more susceptible to anxiety and depression.
How to treat anxiety and depression in your child?
You should note that the treatment of anxiety or depression in children may be slightly different from that in adults. Of course, one cannot expect their children to be only treated with drugs and prescriptions, especially not at a young age. For that, below, we mention some of the most common and effective treatment for children.
- Psychotherapy techniques
The doctor may recommend some psychotherapy techniques for your children. This could include behavioral therapy, which mainly consists of teaching your children how to deal with their feelings of anxiety and panic.
Not only this, but the therapist would also teach them how to calm down in times when they are feeling terrified, and this can either be done through talk therapy, activity therapy, or play treatment that may include other children to help your child to interact more.
- Active involvement
There are also other treatments for anxiety and depression in children that involve getting your children involved in some form of hobby or activity. If your child is holding down a job, you should encourage them to take time off from work whenever possible.
Spending time with each other outside of work is also beneficial for your child. You help them do their favorite puzzle, cock their favorite meal together, or even watch their favorite show together.
- Life changes
In some cases, your child might have to make some changes in his or her lifestyle. For instance, if your child tends to always stay up late at night, you should consider getting them to bed early and helping them have a healthy normal, and healthy sleep cycle, even if you took some positive reinforcement training.
Try to engage them in sports activities and set up a healthy and nutritious diet for them since a well-balanced diet will boost their health system and make them happier and feel satisfied.