Can Children Suffer From Depression?
Depression effects about 14 million adults each year, or 1 in every 6 or 7 adults at some point in their life. That is a big statistic. What is more shocking is the number of children that suffer from depression - 2.5% of children in the U.S. Yes, children can suffer from depression.
It is normal for everyone to have bad days or feel sad off and on. It is normal for a child to be upset over something that happened with a friend or a bad grade. When these feelings last for weeks at a time, depression could be the cause. Depression typically revolves around feelings of sadness, but being sad can cause other symptoms. Frequently a parent might not notice how sad their child is, but if they notice other symptoms of depression it will help them determine if they need to be seen by a doctor. According to WebMD, here are some symptoms to look for in your child.
- being irritable or angry
- feeling sad or hopeless for an extended period
- not wanting to play with friends
- feeling as if no one likes them
- changes in eating or sleeping habits
- low energy or tiredness
- low self esteem
- frequent crying
- feeling worthless
- complaining of a headache or stomach ache when they are not sick
- trouble concentrating
Each child is different and may or may not have all these symptoms. It is important for parents to realize that depression can be real in children too. Many times a young child will suffer from anxiety and then it becomes depression as they get older. Younger children will sometimes mask depression by acting out and being angry. Puberty causes children's hormones to get out of whack and can trigger depression.
Depression can be a very serious disease and if it is left untreated, it can cause life long problems, possibly even suicide, or suicide attempts. Childhood depression can be treated with medicine and /or therapy. Just because a child suffers from depression, doesn't mean he always will; though he might suffer from it at some point as an adult too. Depression can be triggered by a certain event, happen alongside an illness or come about for no obvious reason. The reasons don't necessarily matter though. If you think your child is suffering from depression, please get her the help she needs to overcome it. Childhood depression is a fact, so take it seriously if your child is faced with it.