Emotions can run the gamut from highs to lows and there are a lot of people who have either short or chronic depression. Studies have shown that your moods can affect how fast you age.
Most people already know this, but what you might not know is that if you struggle with depression, this could also prematurely age your child, especially if the depression is severe.
The reason that depression can prematurely age your child is because when a parent is dealing with the side effects of depression, it affects other people who are in the same environment.
It can affect those nearby or who have long term interaction even if the child doesn’t live with you. What happens when a parent has depression is that the child is affected because he or she is dealing with the psychological stress.
When a child deals with this kind of life altering stress, it impacts his telomere length. These are DNA found at the end of a chromosome sort of like an electrical cap on a wire or plastic pieces at the end of shoelaces.
Usually, these caps are a normal length. But in exposure to stress, these caps will shorten which in turn leads to premature aging. Kids who are exposed to severe depression will often struggle with acting act or behavior issues.
One of the reasons for this is because children don’t have the mental or emotional maturity to understand what’s going on or how to deal with it, so they’ll lash out with words, actions or even silence.
Adults who lived in a household with a parent who struggled with depression won’t have the same telomere length as their peers who grew up in a home where there were no depression struggles.
Premature aging of the cells is the physical aspect of what happens to kids who deal with the emotional impact of a parent with depression. While a child is young and still in the home, you’ll see things like poor grades, social withdrawing, or a child who becomes aggressive with his or her peers due to lashing out.
Your child’s long term health as an adult can be affected too. When the telomeres are shortened, this can open the door to diseases. Not only that, but when a child witnesses and lives with the effects of depression in the home, it raises his odds of struggling with depression himself as an adult.
After experiencing life with a parent who suffers from depression, your child may develop weight problems. Some children turn to food in an attempt to deal with the issue since they don’t have the maturity level to handle it.
This in turn can lead to a child who either becomes obese during childhood or will become obese as an adult as a way of self-medicating what he wasn’t able to deal with emotionally. The risk is greater in families where there’s not a lot of money. It’s also a greater risk the younger the child is.
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