By Ms. Ashraf Unnisa, Psychology
The stress of a modern lifestyle has taken a toll on the mental health of the population all over the world. Earlier, it was adults who were mostly affected by the problems of depression, anxiety and stress. However, with the passage of time, even children are also suffering from major mental health problems, the roots of which again are anxiety, stress and depression.
Reasons behind it
Be it, adults or children, the major cause of health issues is stress. Stress doesn’t only cause mental health problems, but serious physiological disorders as well such as hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, sexual problems as well as other issues. If the anxiety or stress persists, it would then slowly develop into a pattern of the mind and then become conditioned, thus leading to depression. Nowadays, children are also being afflicted by depression. Similar to adults, depression in children is caused due to any combination of factors that are related to life events, physical health, family history, genetic vulnerability, environment and biochemical disturbance. It should be noted that depression is not just a passing phase. The symptoms are often left undiagnosed as well as untreated. This is because they are passed off as normal psychological and emotional changes that occur naturally during growth.
Some of the typical symptoms are:
1. Loss of interest in pleasurable activities such as hobbies or crafts which were pursued earlier eagerly
2. Loss of concentration
3. Sudden outbursts
4. Sleeping too much or sleeping too little, suddenly waking up early in the morning
5. Constant fatigue decreased energy and being slower than usual at tasks
6. Excessively low appetite or increased appetite which would thus result in weight loss or binge eating resulting in weight gain
7. The development of physiological disorders which may stop responding to treatment. Many children develop headaches or digestion problems that aren’t resolved by medication.
8. Always sad or irritable or in a depressed mood
9. May find it difficult to sleep or concentrate on work and thus, studies and grades may suffer
10. Extreme and sudden mood changes accompanied by incessant crying
11. Suicidal thoughts
12. Loss of energy as well as lowered self-esteem
With children, you have to be extra careful not to ill-diagnose the problems and if they persist for more than a few weeks, you should seek professional help.