Childhood depression is different from the normal “blues” and everyday emotions that occur as a child develops. Just because a child seems sad doesn’t necessarily mean he or she has significant depression If the sadness becomes persistent, or interferes with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork, or family life, it may indicate that he or she has a depressive illness. Keep in mind that while depression is a serious illness, it is also a treatable one.
Signs and symptoms of depression in children include:
- Irritability or anger
- Continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Social withdrawal
- Increased sensitivity to rejection
- Changes in appetite — either increased or decreased
- Changes in sleep — sleeplessness or excessive sleep
- Vocal outbursts or crying
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue and low energy
- Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that don’t respond to treatment
- Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Impaired thinking or concentration
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Not all children have all of these symptoms. In fact, most will display different symptoms at different times and in different settings. Although some children may continue to function reasonably well in structured environments, most kids with significant depression will suffer a noticeable change in social activities, loss of interest in school and poor academic performance, or a change in appearance. Children may also begin using drugs or alcohol, especially if they are over age 12.
Support, guidance, and assistance of a therapist is fundamental for a child/teen to heal and meet developmental milestones. If you or someone you know match the symptoms listed above, I am confident that I can help and invite you to contact me today for a free consultation.