Childhood Depression: What to Look For

Childhood is normally a happy time, where kids are full of energy, playful and carefree. Sadly, some children and adolescents can go through a period of depression. Kids and teens aren’t always eager to disclose to their parents how they’re feeling, but there are signs that can clue you in that something is wrong.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, about 5 percent of children and teens suffer from depression at some point in their young lives. This can be genetic, from experience stress or great loss or because of attentional, learning, anxiety or conduct disorders.

Here is a list of signs that your child could be depressed:

  • Frequent sadness, tearfulness, crying

  • Hopelessness

  • Deceased interest in activities they used to enjoy

  • Persistent boredom, low energy

  • Social isolation, poor communication

  • Low self-esteem, guilt

  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure

  • Increased irritability, anger or hostility

  • Difficulty with relationships

  • Frequent complaints of physical illnesses such as headaches or stomachaches

  • Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school

  • Poor concentration

  • A major change in sleeping or eating habits

  • Talk of or efforts of running away from home

  • Thoughts or expressions of suicide or self-destructive behavior

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential in helping a child with depression. If your child has two or more signs of depression, it’s time to seek professional help. Treatment includes therapy and in some cases, medication. The AACAP recommends talking to your family doctor who can recommend a professional in psychiatry who can help treat your child’s depression.

About the Author...
Liz Hayes
Liz loves spending time outdoors, working out, traveling, taking in the arts, reading and catching up on TV.
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