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Signs And Symptoms Of Children With Depression

Updated on April 3, 2014
You want a happy child
You want a happy child
Don't ignore the signs
Don't ignore the signs

Normal Or Bad Behavior

Children's behavior is sometimes complicated. They have many influences that shape that behavior. Family, peers, school, television and friends they may model themselves after. When a child or adolescent shows signs of negative or emotional behavior it is important to decide if it is just normal childhood behaviors or something much deeper .

It is possible they may be experiencing depression or some other anxiety disorder. Many children and teenagers exhibit fluctuations in their behavior. Which can be a very normal part of growing up. But then there is the child who shows signs of something deeper. Like extreme shyness, violent outburst, or continual anger. If these symptoms go on for a long time it is advised to seek an intervention.

Be Aware Of Depression In Children

Some signs to look out for:

  • Lack of social interest
  • Low tolerance, easily frustrated
  • Feeling frequently sad, hopeless, weepy or lost
  • Self-destructive behavior, unprovoked anger or aggressiveness
  • Difficulty with relationships
  • Rejection or a sense of failure
  • Dropping out of activities, a change in grades, refusing to go to school
  • Running away
  • Paying little attention to grooming or appearance
  • Changes in sleep, eating habits, and withdrawing from family and friends.

There are many risk factors for children that may cause depression or anxiety.

  • Problems with parents or care givers
  • Family history of depression, suicide and other mental illness disorders
  • Peer pressure
  • Drug or other substance abuse
  • Abuse or neglect at home
  • Illness with another family member
  • Shyness or poor social skills
  • Divorce, separation, or a death

Depression can be a chemical imbalance of the brain. Mental illness, mood disorders or anxiety can affect anyone and that includes children. If such illness like depression is caught early, chances are high that the child will function normally while learning to live with and maintain treatment.

I don't want to be sad
I don't want to be sad

Facts About Childhood Depression

  • Early intervention is essential to effective treatment and prevention of other problems
  • Untreated depression can disappear after several months, but it often returns two-fold
  • Depression untreated in children or adolescents are at a high risk for substance abuse
  • There is an 80% success rate in treating depression
  • Depression can happen anytime during a lifetime, but is most prevalent in adolescence
  • It is estimated 80% children go untreated and under diagnosed

American Academy Of Child And Adolescent Psychiatry

A Treatment Plan

There are many options for treatment when your child has been diagnosed with depression. Psychotherapy is one option that can help your child deal with depression. It is not uncommon for  a psychiatrist to recommend medication for your child. The psychiatrist will want to set up a family support system that might  include support groups, education about the illness and how to manage it. Professionals included in the treatment plan may include psychologists, therapists, and social workers who specialize in behavior, testing and counseling of depression.

What you can do as a parent or caregiver for your child

  • If  something emotional is going on with your child such as depression, keep a record of behaviors you suspect are not your child's normal behavior.
  • Seek intervention. Start with a visit to your family doctor and ask for recommendations for someone who specializes in depression in children. 
  • Empower yourself with knowledge. Learn what you can about mental illness. Your doctor, the library, the internet has a wealth of information. 
  • Talk to your family and friends, reach out to support groups, whether they be face to face or on line groups, they both offer support you might need. 
  • Depression is not your child's fault. Let  them know that.

Comments

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    • crazybeanrider profile imageAUTHOR

      Boo McCourt 

      8 years ago from Washington MI

      I am sorry to hear that about your son. Kids can be so cruel. I know food plays a huge role, I am just starting to make a lot of changes in that area. My sister has three ADHD kids and she is careful what she gives them. There is so much to learn about food.

    • profile image

      Baileybear 

      8 years ago

      I think my son may have depression (the angry kind rather than the sad kind). He has Asperger's syndrome and snapped yesterday (been bullied for months) and hit a child that teased him. Today he was upset and hiding under the slide and a girl came up to him and said she was going to tell on him. He was a cornered wild animal and hit her. I have a depressive disorder and the food chemicals that make me depressed make him fly into a rage. Aparrently both types have low serotonin.

    • crazybeanrider profile imageAUTHOR

      Boo McCourt 

      8 years ago from Washington MI

      Hi BaileyBear,

      Thank you for the comment. My niece had rage issues that she has been working through with therapy. They diagnosed her bipolar, she is 14, and starting to do alot better with medication and therapy. I will look for your article and link as well.

    • profile image

      Baileybear 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for a great hub. I have a depressive disorder and my son has rage issues which are associated with his Asperger's Syndrome and food sensitivities. I have just complete a hub about my own experience with treatment resistant depression. I will link your hub.

    • crazybeanrider profile imageAUTHOR

      Boo McCourt 

      8 years ago from Washington MI

      Hi GarnetBird,

      Thank you so much. I can empathize with your grief. My mother grieved her whole life when she was taken from her mother at 5 y/o. She searched and searched until 3 years ago she and her brothers found her, having been dead for many years unknown to them. It was a weird and unusual story after we found the truth.

      OMG those poor cats. I can't imagine them living a full life if they can barely move. I have one cat that is biggish, but the vet says he is fine. My other cat is small, I would be so worried if they were heavy like the ones in your hub. WOW!

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 

      8 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Wonderful Hub. I spent part of my childhood grieving for my Mother and siblings (We were separated for nearly 20 years). I wish the family that raised me had known more about childhood depression, etc. (By the way; check out my feline diabetes Hub--I added 6 moe FAT CAT photos that are hilarious...in a sad, way of course. But pretty funny).

    • crazybeanrider profile imageAUTHOR

      Boo McCourt 

      8 years ago from Washington MI

      Hi habee, Thank you for reading. I have 3 nephews and a niece, they spend a large amount of time at my house with their friends. Because it runs in my family I want to be aware of what is going on with them and their friends. And in this day and age, a parent can never be to careful. Kids have so much going on in their lives.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Great info for parents to get a heads up!

    • crazybeanrider profile imageAUTHOR

      Boo McCourt 

      8 years ago from Washington MI

      Hey BKCreative,

      Thank you for the comment. It is much appreciated. It is sad how sometimes kids are neglected emotionally. people don't realize that they too can get depressed, and sometimes cannot snap out of it. That there are real issues behind the emotional acting out. Thank you for reading.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 

      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks for such a well done hub. I still work p/t as a teacher and our poor children have so many health issues. While we concentrate on obesity - we forget all the emotional issues.

      Thanks for covering the issue so well. I'll bookmark this for reference.

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