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Warning Signs of Depression in Children

Updated on July 19, 2021
Hope Wilbanks profile image

Hope is a freelance content writer, specializing in mental health and wellness, personal growth and development, and content marketing.

According to, about 1 in 10 children battle with symptoms of depression over extended periods of time. The older the child gets, the greater the symptoms grow. Untreated depression in teenagers is the leading cause of suicide among teenagers and adults. With startling numbers like this, it’s time we as parents learn all we can about depression and how to deal with it.

As with any medical condition, there are certain warning signs that point to childhood depression. The biggest mistake parents often make is not noticing these signs, or noticing them but thinking that their child is just being rebellious or otherwise.

Because depression is universal, there are certain signs you can look for, which include, but is not limited to the following:

· Extreme anger or moodiness – A lot of parents tend to overlook this sign of depression, simply because they think it’s hormonal changes. While that could be partially true, if your child has never been prone to extreme mood swings or anger, then you could be dealing with a totally different problem.

· Change in activity levels – Kids suffering from depression may suddenly go from being very active in sports or social activities to wanting to stay at home all the time. If your child is normally very active and suddenly stops showing interest in things they were once passionate about, it could be a sign of childhood depression.

· Increase or decrease in appetite – This is another tricky sign that parents often overlook. If a child starts gaining a great amount of weight, or losing weight really fast, this could be cause for alarm. Sudden change in eating habits could be a sign of something more going on with your child.

· Displaying feelings of guilt – Have you noticed your child making poor decisions and allowing feelings of guilt to overwhelm them? Children suffering from depression often take the weight of the world on their shoulders. They feel responsible for things that are not in their control. Guilt weighs heavily on them all the time.

· Unexplainable illness – This is another common sign of childhood depression. Most children often seem like hypochondriacs because they complain often about feeling sick when there is nothing wrong with them.

· Poor hygiene – This is probably one of the most noticeable signs any parent could spot. Children suffering from depression often stop taking care of themselves. Their hair might go unkempt for days; they take less notice of whether or not they match; they go days without bathing. Lack of personal hygiene shows a lack of personal worth, which is a sign of childhood depression.

This article is purely for educational purposes and is not intended to replace the care of your physician. If you think your child is depressed, schedule an appointment with your family physician immediately.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2008 Hope Wilbanks


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