Identifying Childhood or Teen Depression

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • Though children can show signs of passing sadness, we typically think of depression as an adult disorder.  Children and teens can however, suffer from depression, and about 5% of children and teens, suffer from depression at any given point in time.  Certain children may be at risk for depression: if your parent(s) had it, if you experience sudden loss, if you have ADD, if you have anxiety disorder. 

    Symptoms of depression in children can include:

    • Bouts of frequent sadness, tearfulness, crying
    • Significantly decreased interest in activities, inability to enjoy previously favorite pursuits
    • Persistent boredom, low energy
    • A feeling of hopelessness
    • Poor communicative skills, social isolation
    • Low self esteem, feelings of guilt
    • Inability to manage rejection, failure
    • Increased signs of irritability, anger and hostility
    • Difficulty with relationships, even well-established ones
    • Frequent complaints of physical symptoms like stomach pain, head aches
    • Poor performance at school
    • Absences from school
    • Change in eating (usually less) and sleeping (unable to sleep or increased, excessive sleep
    • Talk of running away
    • Actual disappearances
    • Expression of thoughts of suicide, destructive behavior

    Parents may notice that a child who used to play with friends now seems isolated and alone.  Hobbies or passions may no longer bring joy; kids may spend hours in their room, lying on their bed.  Depressed adolescents may turn to drugs and or alcohol in an effort to self-medicate.  Also be aware that if troublemaking or disobedience suddenly appears, these too can be a sign of depression.  The good news is that early intervention, diagnosis and treatment can yield excellent therapeutic results.  Some children and teens will require individual and family therapy and in some cases, a combination of certain types of therapy and medication may be necessary.

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    (Symptoms sourced from: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)





Published On: July 17, 2009