What to do about parental depression
Parental depression is a serious problem that can cause difficulty not only for the parent but for his or her children as well. If you are a parent and think you may be suffering from depression it’s important to seek screening and get help if needed for your own and your child’s well-being.
How parental depression affects children
The National Institute of Mental Health has found that children of depressed parents are at higher risk of mental disorders and physical illnesses as they grow up. Adult offspring of depressed parents are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety and are more likely to have problems with alcohol and drug use.
According to the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine about 15 million children in the United States live in a household with a parent who suffers from major depression.
Children with depressed mothers are also at higher risk of academic difficulties health problems and behavioral problems. In cases where the mother’s depression is severe and long-lasting they are more likely to have developmental delays and cognitive issues. A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry showed that children of depressed parents show significantly poorer school performance than those without depressed parents.
Treatment for parental depression helps children
The good news is that if you suffer from depression getting treatment will help your children too. Children are less likely to show behavioral problems when their mother no longer shows symptoms of depression reports a study published in the journal Psychiatric Services.
If you think you might be depressed seeking screening is the first step toward getting help. Reach out to your primary care physician and tell him or her that you may be suffering from depression. There are many effective treatments for depression. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health 75 to 85 percent of adults treated for depression show improvement. Talk therapy and medication are two possible options to discuss with your doctor.
Remember when you feel better your children will feel better too.
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