- The primary symptoms of depression revolve around sadness, a feeling of hopelessness, and mood changes.
- Children with a family history of violence, alcohol abuse, or physical or sexual abuse are at greater risk for suicide, as are those with depressive symptoms.
- Children may continue to do reasonably well in structured environments, but most kids with significant depression will have a noticeable change in social activities, a loss of interest in school, poor academic performance, or a change in appearance.
Yes. Childhood depression is different from the normal “blues” and everyday emotions that children go through as they develop. Just because a child seems sad doesn’t necessarily mean they have significant depression.
Experts say if the sadness becomes persistent or interfere with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork, or family life; it may mean they have a depressive illness but still keeping in mind that while it is a serious illness, it’s also a treatable one.
Symptoms of depression in children vary. The condition is often undiagnosed and untreated because symptoms are passed off as normal emotional and psychological changes. Early medical studies focused on “masked” depression, where a child’s depressed mood was evidenced by acting out or angry behavior.
While this does happen, particularly in younger children, many children display sadness or low mood similar to adults who are depressed. The primary symptoms of depression revolve around sadness, a feeling of hopelessness, and mood changes.
According to experts signs and symptoms of depression in children include: crankiness or anger, continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness, social withdrawal, being more sensitive to rejection, changes in appetite, either increased or decreased, changes in sleep (sleeplessness or excessive sleep), vocal outbursts or crying, trouble concentrating, fatigue and low energy, physical complaints (such as stomachaches and headaches) that don’t respond to treatment.
Also cited was, trouble during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, during extracurricular activities, and with other hobbies or interests, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, impaired thinking or concentration and thoughts of death or suicide.
Going deeper, research reveals that not all children have all of these symptoms. In fact, most will show different symptoms at different times and in different settings. Although some children may continue to do reasonably well in structured environments, most kids with significant depression will have a noticeable change in social activities, loss of interest in school, poor academic performance, or a change in appearance. Children may also begin using drugs or alcohol, especially if they are over the age of 12.
Though relatively rare in youths under 12, young children do attempt suicide and may do so impulsively when they are upset or angry.
Girls are more likely to attempt suicide, but boys are more likely to actually kill themselves when they make an attempt. Children with a family history of violence, alcohol abuse, or physical or sexual abuse are at greater risk for suicide, as are those with depressive symptoms.
Medics advice parents with younger children that they ought to be keener and pay close attention to their babies’ behavioral patterns so that they can notice the slightest change whether positive or negative and correct the changes to their best version.
Remember, depression is a serious condition, but it is very much treatable; the earlier the better!