A child’s depression is not a scale down version of an adult’s emotion. Children experience and express depression differently. The usual sign is withdrawal from his previous activities and friends. A depressed child is in a low mood, talks less and has few interactions. In some cases, however, a depressed child may be over-aggressive and hyperactive. This is just to cover up his depression. It is natural for a child to feel sad and distressed when he is hut, but if the response is prolonged, beyond the usual natural duration, it becomes a cause of concern for parents. Fortunately, these negative feelings do not last for long with children.
Parents can do a lot to help their children when they are depressed. They should not snub the child. In case he does not want to talk to his parents about his problems, he should be encouraged to give vent to his feelings by talking to a person whom he can confide in.
Diet plays an important part in depression. The child patient should be encouraged to take liberal quantities of fresh fruits, milk and green vegetables. The diet should exclude tea, chocolate, and cola drinks as well as white flour products and condiments.
Certain home remedies have been found beneficial in the treatment of depression. The use of apple is one such remedy. The fruit should be eaten with milk and honey. This will act as a very effective nerve tonic and recharge the nerves with new energy and life.
The use of cardamom (choti ilaichi) has proved valuable in depression. Powdered seeds should be boiled in water and a tea prepared in the usual way. It gives a very pleasing aroma to tea which can be used as a medicine in the treatment of this condition.
The cashew nut (kaju) is another effective remedy for general depression. It is rich in vitamins of B group, especially thiamine and therefore useful in stimulating appetite, and nervous system. It is also rich in riboflavin which keeps the body active, gay and energetic.
The depressive mood can be overcome by activity and the child patient should be encouraged to keep himself occupied. The grownup child should also be encouraged to undertake light exercise which not only keeps the body physically fit but also provides recreation and mental relaxation. It also gives the feeling of accomplishment and thus reduces the sense of helplessness.
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