A report by the National Research Council titled “Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children” stated that untreated, unrecognized parental depression can lead to negative consequences for kids. In a given year an estimated 7.5 million adults with depression have a child under the age of 18 living with them. It is estimated that at least 15 million children live in households with parents who have major or severe depression. Dr. Beardslee who was on the committee that issued the report explained that problems in children can range from poor school performance to visits to emergency rooms and adolescent depression.
An article in the New York Times dives deeper into the subject and explains that “A depressed parent may have trouble following a plan of preventive care if a child has a medical problem like asthma. But higher rates of depression in parents whose children have chronic medical problems may also reflect the stress of dealing with those problems, especially for psychologically vulnerable parents.” And so the situation turns into a vicious cycle where the parent’s depression affects the child and the inability to cope with the child’s problems stress and aggravate the parent’s depression.
When diagnosing depression, we need to make sure we include the entire family when planning treatment options. Young kids, especially, may not understand why mommy or daddy are sad all the time or why they get sick with medication, family therapy can be a great way to explain these issues and include children in the healing process.
Out of the 20 million Americans affected by depression, roughly 4 million do not respond to standard treatments. Parents suffering from treatment resistant depression need to seek help in order to help their kids. TMS Therapy can help you treat your major depression and control your medication intake. If your parents or someone you know who is a parent is suffering from depression, extend a hand – let them know there is hope. As Dr. Beardslee said in his interview “The last thing in the world we should be doing is blaming parents,we should be reaching out and offering hope.”
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