Depression Increases with Pain in Children with IBD
As many of us know, adults dealing with a chronic illness like IBD can sometimes become depressed. This is also the case with children dealing with IBD. Recent research has indicated that children who complain of abdominal pain, even when their disease appears to be minimal or inactive, are at an increased risk for depression.
While depression can be a very serious illness it is also treatable. It is very important for parents to pay attention to the signs and symptoms that their child gives and seek prompt help when needed.
The symptoms of depression are more than just the normal "blues" or emotions a child may have when dealing with their chronic illness. Some of the symptoms of depression include: social withdrawal, increased feelings of sadness or hopelessness, irritability, increases in anger or outbursts, difficulty concentrating, increases in sensitivity or crying and any changes in sleep, appetite or energy level can all be warning signs.
Having an open dialog with your child before the child becomes depressed can help. This dialog allows children to verbalize feelings that can sometimes remain hidden. This can help parents catch the changes that indicate depression might be an issue. The pediatrician should also be monitoring your child's mental health when dealing with a chronic illness. Should they determine your child suffers from depression they may recommend medications or counseling to help your child deal with these feelings.
It is important for the child to know that other children with IBD have also dealt with depression but with proper treatment they can feel like themselves again. If you see any of these symptoms it is important to get immediate help for your child. It is better to err on the side of caution in these instances.