Depression in Children

How can you tell if your child is depressed?

Signs of depressive symptoms are often viewed as normal mood swings typically of a particular developmental stage for a child or adolescent. Unfortunately, this disorder often goes unrecognized by families and physicians alike. The way the symptoms are expressed varies with the developmental stages in the youngest. In addition, children and young adolescent have difficulty identifying and expressing their internal emotional or mood states. For example, instead of communicating how bad they feel, they may act it out and be irritable towards others which may be interpret as misbehavior or disobedient. This illness can also stop children from getting the most out of this important time in life.

Depressed children can be helped with appropriate treatment with psychotherapy, medication, and or a combination can lead to improve functioning at school, with peers, and at home with family. In addition, referring the youth and family to a mental health therapist and additional resources for support can help enhance recovery.

Signs that may be associated with depression in children and Adolescents

  • Physical complaints such as headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches or tiredness.
  • Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school.
  • Talk of or effort to run away from home
  • Outburst of shouting, complaining, unexplained irritability, or crying.
  • Lack of interest in playing with friends
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Social isolation, poor communication
  • Fear of death
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
  • Increase irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Reckless behavior
  • Difficulty with relationships.

If you notice these signs in your child, consider exploring therapy options specifically tailored for children and adolescents. Early intervention is crucial in managing and treating depression. Understanding the symptoms of depression in children can provide a clearer path for seeking the right help. Remember, depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects many children and adolescents. With proper care and treatment, your child can learn to manage their symptoms and enjoy a fulfilling life. For more information or to get in touch with a professional, please visit our contact page.


National Institute of Mental Health

NAMI- National Alliance on Mental Illness

Scripps Hospital

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