Mental health

Depression and Childhood

Several researches have suggested that the roots of depression could lie in a person’s childhood. The experiences during one’s childhood, we know, shapes the person. In the same way, many researchers have argued, depression too finds its root cause in a person’s childhood experiences. Here are a few examples:
1. Childhood trauma or abuse is seen to be powerful enough to make the brain vulnerable to depression.  In most cases of abuse or trauma, children find it hard to express themselves and speak their heart out. As a result, they suppress their emotions and tend to ruminate on them. The more the time spent in ruminating over the thought, the more it will affect the child. Emotions that go without being communicated pile up over time to become too overwhelming for the child to handle.
2. Children who are bullied tend to grow up to be adults who are more susceptible to depression. Children who bully too are susceptible to depression as adults. Children who are bullied experience helplessness and those who bully have a lot of rage in them. Both these emotions are the kind that we revisit all the time and ruminate over and thus contribute to future depression.
3. Children who cannot process emotions such as grief don’t find a resolution for the same emotions. The grief might have been caused by a serious happening such as someone’s death and not being able to process death will result in an unhealthy attitude towards death like being terrified of it. This might lead to depression as well, when it resurfaces later in life.
4. According to psychologists, children who harbor feelings of hatred and anger within them and are not very intelligent are likely to develop depression in their lives. This is again because feelings like hatred consume those who entertain them. We ruminate over hatred and anger and with intelligence being low, there is no thought to distract the mind from the negative emotions.
5. The environment that children grow up in plays a significant role in determining whether they are likely to experience depression. If children grow up in environments that are not conducive for their emotional and mental development, they can experience depression in their lives since they have never learned to process and understand their emotions.
These examples illustrate how profound an impact our childhood can have on our mental health and provides reasons for us to be mindful of the environments and the circumstances our children grow up in.


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