SolveYourProblem eLearning Series: Learning Disabilities
The Bottom Line On Learning Disabilities

( 50 articles in this series )



How Does Depression Affect People
with Learning Disabilities?

For many people with learning disabilities (LD), it is hard for them to express what they are feeling. Without being able to effectively verbalize what they need, want, or feel many LD people will let their action speak for them. This can be a sign that something is truly wrong and should not be ignored or thought of as a temper tantrum. Any sudden changes in mood, behavior, or activities could be a clear sign of depression. Another sign is when the LD person can no longer do the things they were previously able to do. Depression is very common among the learning disabled. They are always under pressure and have a hard time with many normal aspects of life. The learning disabled have a hard time making and keeping friends and are often socially isolated. It is all too easy for people to assume the behavior is because of the learning disability and not that the person is suffering inside and in many instances in silence.

Adolescents and adults with LD become withdrawn and reclusive. Many times they will become quiet, agitated, irritable, or even angry. Many will try to talk about their sadness, or act sad and no one will notice. Children have a different array of signs and symptoms than adults. Their clues tend to lean more to the nonverbal and exhibit themselves more as behavioral than anything else. A major depressive episode can last for several weeks or longer and can be very intense. For mild chronic depression, known as dysthymia may last for months on end and only display itself as unusual moods and personality issues. Children who suffer with learning disabilities are especially prone to chronic depression. It can be easier for one to see depression in adults and adolescents and get them the help and support they need. Children tend to be more difficult to figure out when it comes to depression.

There are several signs to be that can indicate depression in children but many are over looked. An increase in whining, anger, irritability, and/or moodiness that are not do to physical illness or malady is a definite sign of depression. You should also be concerned if your child shows major changes in sleep patterns, loss of appetite and/or energy. These are all key warning signs that something is not right and depression might be the culprit. A big sign is when a child loses interest in all their relationships, friends, activities or sports, and playing. Children who speak negatively and apologetic about themselves and exhibit low self-esteem are showing signs of depression. Many children will have a difficulty with concentration and indecisiveness. If your child or nay child you know has displayed these behaviors call the doctor and have them evaluated.

If depression is left unchecked and treated, it can cause many negative effects. For many LD people, it can interfere with the personís family, friends, social functioning, work, and academics. This can cause a never-ending circle of frustration and disappointment for the person. They may complain about physical ailments and pains more frequently that can cause adverse effects on performance, such as headaches or stomachaches. The personís fear and anxiety levels can rise and lead to irritability and anger, which can cause conflict with co-workers, friends, parents, and siblings. The LD person is much more likely to go unnoticed with their depression and one must be aware of an impending problem. This is especially true for parents of a learning disabled child.

Parents need to be aware of the signs and indicators that their child might be depressed. Trust the parentís intuition if you suspect depression in your child. Talk with the school and the childís doctor. Make sure to get your child treatment, especially if the school confirms that the child has been behaving similarly there as well. Communication between parents and teachers can help a child not suffer as long from the depression and keep it from getting severe. Make sure you get help for your child and follow through with any instructions that the doctor gives you. Depression is treatable and with medication and/or therapy your child can be easily released from its grip. It is never too late to get help for depression and teach those around us that life is worth living.

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