Many adults struggle with depression, and many believe it’s only an adults condition. However, children are also likely to develop depression. It’s unfortunate that many children live their lives with untreated depression because adults sometimes don’t realize that their children are depressed. It’s extremely important for adults, parents, and teachers to learn more about childhood depression. When you are able to understand childhood depression, the symptoms, and how it arises, you are able to be more helpful. Depression presents differently in teens and children than it does in adults. Some of the more common signs of depression in teens and youth are irritability and anger. Furthermore, young children may have a difficult time explaining how they feel, while teens may hide their emotions. It may be challenging to know if your child is going through normal behavior, a phase, or if it’s something serious. Here is the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s list of the most common signs of depression in children.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says that signs of depression in children last longer than 2 weeks and include.
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Feeling or appearing depressed, sad, tearful, or irritable
- Fatigue or perceived lack of energy
- Feeling guilty or ashamed
- Having more trouble concentrating
- Loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities
- Psychomotor slowing or agitation
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide and/or death
- Sleep disturbance: Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
“Children are often less likely to meet the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria for depression. As they age, symptom presentation becomes more consistent with the DSM-5 criteria.”
Children and teens become depressed just like adults. When there is a major life change such as with moving, family issues like divorce, and even genetics can contribute to depression in young people.
Factors Contributing To Childhood Depression
- Brain chemistry
- Environmental factors
- Family history
- Stress or trauma
Anyone can become depressed, it doesn’t mean you are weak or a failure, and it’s not your fault if your child becomes depressed. If you think your child may depressed schedule an appoint to speak with a mental health professional. A mental health professional will work with you and your child to find out the best mental health treatments that work for them.