When Medications Won't Help Your Gloomy Teen: Why Counselling Is the Best Tool to Treat Childhood Depression


Depression is rampant among adults, but did you know that it is also fairly common in children? The emotions that children experience as they develop and the daily normal "blues" are different from depression. Sadly, most parents don't take childhood depression seriously because they mistake it with the usual emotions. Don't conclude your child is depressed because they look sad, but do so if the persistent sadness interferes with their family life, schoolwork, life interests and social activities.

How Does a Depressed Child Behave?

Depression symptoms vary from one child to another. Most parents overlook childhood depression because they mistake its symptoms with psychological or emotional growth changes. If you discover your child has been sad or in a low mood for several days, pay attention—they could be feeling depressed.

Besides looking sad, a depressed child could also display low energy, decreased or increased appetite, excessive sleep or sleeplessness, vocal outbursts, impaired concentration, anger, rejection sensitivity and social withdrawal. They could also develop headaches and stomach-aches that don't respond to medication. If you don't address the problem early, your child may do things like use alcohol and drugs, especially if they are over 12 years old.

Why Could Your Child Be Depressed?

Depression isn't a sign of weakness as some may believe. Children develop depression often because they can't control or withstand what goes on in their world. Genetics can be a risk factor for this mental illness.

When hormones and neurotransmitters are imbalanced, they interfere with one's brain chemistry. This doesn't just affect a child's emotions and moods but also leaves them depressed. Family history is also associated with childhood depression. If some of your family members suffer from mood disorders like depression, your child could also experience depression. Sexual abuse, assault, a chaotic home environment, school bullying and rejection also trigger childhood depression.

Will Counselling Help?

It's good to give a depressed child some antidepressant medications, but they won't resolve the problem. However, counselling is a highly effective method because it focuses on the cause of the symptoms displayed. A professional counsellor listens actively and creates a friendlier environment for the child to express their emotions, experiences and concerns. This way, they identify the most effective therapeutic technique to use. Most counsellors use CBT to help depressed children change their behaviours and negative thought patterns. CBT also helps children with depression to challenge and change their belief systems and look at life and the circumstances around them through a more positive lens.


20 January 2020

An Introduction to Counselling

Hello! If you have never attended a counselling session before, you may have some questions about the entire process. We hope that this blog will answer some of the questions you may have. Here, you will find articles which explore a number of different types of therapy and counselling. Among others, we will look at CBT, existentialist, and narrative therapy. You will also find articles about what to expect during your first counselling session. Although we aren't trained counsellors, every writer has a passion for talking therapies and mental health. We hope you enjoy checking out this blog. Thank you.