Depression in Children and Teens
Do everything possible to provide a supportive family environment. Love, understanding, and regular communication are some of the most important things you can provide to help your child cope with depression.
In addition to having a positive home life, staying in professional counseling, and taking medicines as prescribed, good lifestyle habits can help reduce your child's symptoms of depression. Encourage your child to:
- Get regular exercise, such as swimming, walking, or playing vigorously every day. For more information, see the topic Reference Physical Activity for Children and Teens.
- Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs, nonprescription medicines, herbal therapies, and medicines that have not been prescribed (because they may interfere with the medicines used to treat depression).
- Get enough sleep. If your child has problems sleeping,
he or she might try:
- Going to bed at the same time every night.
- Keeping the bedroom dark and quiet.
- Not exercising after 5:00 p.m.
- Eat a Reference balanced diet. If your child lacks an appetite, try to get him or her to eat small snacks rather than large meals.
- Be hopeful about feeling better. Positive thinking is very important in recovering from depression. It is difficult to be hopeful when you feel depressed, but remind your child that improvement occurs gradually and takes time.
If you notice any Reference warning signs of suicide (such as aggressive or hostile behavior, excessive thoughts about death, or detachment from reality) seek professional help immediately by calling either your child's doctor, a professional counselor, or a local mental health or emergency services. Call 911 if you feel your child is in immediate danger.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 16, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry