Saturday, May 25, 2024

Signs Of Depression In Young Kids

Childhood Depression: Warning Signs Of Suicide

8 Signs Your Child is Depressed (For Parents)

Parents should be particularly vigilant for signs that may indicate that a child with depression is at risk for suicide. Warning signs of suicidal behavior in children include:

  • A focus on morbid and negative themes
  • Frequent accidents
  • Increased crying or reduced emotional expression
  • Increased risk-taking behaviors
  • Many depressive symptoms
  • Social isolation

How Does Psychotherapy Work

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that can treat anxiety or depression in children. CBT helps children learn to think more positively and control negative behaviors. It can also help children manage anxiety by getting to the root of their fears and worries. Therapy gives children tools to cope with anxiety and depression in healthier ways.

Signs And Symptoms Of Panic Attacks

If your child experiences a panic attack, they might feel out of control with whats going on around them, scared that their body is in danger or even like they are dying. Our bodies can react in different ways to panic attacks. Some of these reactions include:

  • Breathlessness, quick breathing or finding it hard to breathe
  • Light-headedness or a feeling of fainting
  • Finding lights brighter and more intense
  • A rapid heartbeat and a tightness in the chest
  • Sweating more than usual
  • Being teary, like they cant stop crying
  • Feeling stuck, like they cant move
  • Stomach cramps or feeling sick.

Don’t Miss: Can I Commit Myself For Depression

When To Seek Professional Help

If anxiety is impacting your childs daily life, professional treatment can make a huge difference. Your health-care provider can refer you to a mental health professional for an assessment and advice on treatment that is right for your child. If your child is offered counselling or talk therapy, they can speak with a trained mental health professional about what they are feeling and ways to cope.

As a parent, it is important to know that your childs feelings of anxiety is not a reflection of your parenting and that your child is not reacting with anxiety on purpose or to seek attention. It can be a stressful and serious situation, but with your attention, love and care, anxiety can be managed and overcome.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression In Children And Young People

Teen Depression: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

The symptoms of depression are often different for different people.

Common symptoms are:

  • feeling miserable, irritable, and unable to cope
  • anger and rage
  • feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and guilt
  • difficulty experiencing pleasure like they used to
  • trouble sleeping or waking up earlier than usual
  • changes in appetite
  • frequent complaints of physical illness
  • poor concentration, memory and decision making skills
  • being overwhelmed and thinking negatively about the future
  • acting out
  • refusal to work or cooperate
  • thoughts of suicide and self harm
  • loss of sexual desire in teens

Depression in children and young people is different to adults, and they may be more irritable and act out than sad. Some tamariki may not be able to express in words how they are feeling because of their age. Teenagers and children may also deny they have a problem or ‘put on a happy face’. They may be concerned people will think there is something wrong with them and not understand what is going on for them.

It is important not to see symptoms of depression as ‘just being a teenager’ and a phase they will grow out of. This is not the case. Depression is a serious illness that needs the right treatment.

The signs and symptoms of depression may be shared with other childhood problems . Professional help is important for a proper assessment.

Also Check: Signs Of Long Term Depression

Depression In Young People Recognising The Signs And Knowing Where To Get Help

Depression doesntjust affect adults. Children and teenagers can get depressed too.

Some studies showthat almost one in four young people will experience depression before they are19 years old, according to the NHS.

Its important toget help early if you think your child may be depressed. The longer it goes on,the more likely it is to disrupt your childs life and turn into a long-termproblem.

What is depression?

Most people, youngpeople as well as adults, feel low, sad or `blue occasionally, this is anormal reaction to experiences that are stressful or upsetting.

When these feelingscontinue over a period of time, or take over and get in the way of your normaldaily life, it can become an illness. This illness is called depression.

Depression is oneof the most common emotional problems around the world but the good news isthat it is also one of the most treatable. In fact, 80% of people who receivetreatment for depression go on to have a better quality of life they feelbetter and enjoy themselves in a way that they werent able to before.

What are the causes of depression in young people?

There is no singlefactor that can lead to the onset of depression. Genes and family tendenciescan determine whether someone is likely to be more susceptible to depressionbut there are also many other factors that can act as potential triggers whichmay prompt depression one is the pressure of modern life on young people.

How to recognise signs of depression in young people

Causes Of Major Depression

There are a combination of causes, such as genetics, environment, and psychological factors. Research suggests that major depression has a strong genetic component given that the illness can be passed on from one generation to the next. However, its important to note that children dont always develop depression simply because their parents have it. Many children develop depression even when there is no family history of the illness. Children are also more likely to develop depression if they experience environmental stress such as abuse, neglect, or trauma, significant changes or losses, family and parental distress, or significant peer conflict such as bullying or romantic loss. In addition, children with chronic medical illnesses or other behavioral health disorders, such as anxiety, are at risk for developing depression.

Read Also: Celebrities With Major Depressive Disorder

Can Depression In Children Be Prevented

Children with a family history of depression are also at higher risk of depression. Children who have parents with depression tend to have their first episode of depression earlier than children whose parents donât have the condition. Children from chaotic or conflicted families, or children and teens who abuse substances like alcohol and drugs, are also at greater risk of depression.

How Is Major Depression Diagnosed

Childhood Anxiety

Because depression has shown to often coexist with other psychiatric disorders, such as substance abuse or anxiety disorders, seeking early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to the recovery of your child.

A child psychiatrist or other mental health professional usually diagnoses major depression following a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation. An evaluation of the child’s family, when possible, in addition to information provided by teachers and care providers may also be helpful in making a diagnosis.

Read Also: How To Give Good Advice To Someone Who Is Depressed

Listen And Provide Emotional Support

Try not to ask too many questions, come up with quick solutions or gloss over their sadness. Empathise with how theyre feeling and remember theyve taken a risk in opening up to you let them know they can talk to you as often and for as long as they need to.

Try not take it personally if youre on the receiving end of anger, frustration and sadness, as its often a sign of how much your child trusts you when they can express these feelings with you. However, it is completely understandable if this sometimes becomes too much for you to manage as a parent – and if that happens, it’s a good idea to seek professional help and advice.

What Are The Treatment Options

Treatment options for children with depression are similar to those for adults, including psychotherapy and medication. Your child’s doctor may suggest psychotherapy first and consider antidepressant medicine as an option if there is no significant improvement. The best studies to date show that a combination of psychotherapy and medication is most effective at treating depression.

But studies do show that the antidepressant fluoxetine is effective in treating depression in children and teens. The drug is officially recognized by the FDA for treatment of children ages 8 to 18 with depression.

Most medications used to treat depression in children have a black box warning about the possibility of increasing suicidal thoughts. It is important to start and monitor these medications under the care of a trained professional and talk with them about the potential risks and benefits for your child.

Treating children who have bipolar disorder

Children with bipolar disorder are usually treated with psychotherapy and a combination of medicines, usually an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer.

Antidepressants need to be used with caution, as they can trigger bouts of manic or hyperactive behavior in children with bipolar disorder. Managing a child’s medication must be part of an overall care plan that includes therapy and routine primary care appointments.

Also Check: Im Very Depressed And Need Help

Involve Your Child In Treatment Choices

When choosing a specialist or pursuing treatment options, always get your teens input. If you want your teen to be motivated and engaged in their treatment, dont ignore their preferences or make unilateral decisions. No one therapist is a miracle worker, and no one treatment works for everyone. If your child feels uncomfortable or is just not connecting with the psychologist or psychiatrist, seek out a better fit.

Know Your Own Emotional State

7 Signs of Depression in Teens

Importantly, because depression is an internal state marked by feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, its unlikely that young children will have the emotional or developmental skills to communicate that they are depressed. So children themselves arent necessarily the best place to start when looking for information on their emotional state. In fact, parents are more likely to be successful in diagnosing depression or any number of psychological conditions like anxiety or aggression by looking to their own mental health first.

The emotional state of a very young child is very tied up in the parents, explains Dr. Abigail Gewirtz, a professor at the University of Minnesotas College of Education and Human Development and author of When the World Feels Like a Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents and Worried Kids. The first thing I tell parents is to pay attention to their own emotions first.

Gewirtz acknowledges that it can be extraordinarily difficult for parents to observe their own emotional and psychological state independent of their children. The way a parent feels about the world, whether it be anxious or depressed, colors their experience. So, a parent who is overwhelmed by negative emotions will likely view their childrens behavior as negative regardless of how they are really behaving.

You May Like: What Kind Of Depression Do I Have Test

How Is Bipolar Disorder Treated In Children

Children with severe bipolar disorder-like symptoms are often treated with psychotherapy and a combination of medicines. The medications usually include a mood stabilizing medicine sometimes in combination with an antidepressant.

Antidepressants need to be used with caution in children with suspected bipolar disorder because they have a small but significant risk for triggering mania .

Signs Of Depression In Children

Signs of depression in children age 12 and younger may include the following:

  • Difficulty initiating and/or maintaining social relationships
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
  • Frequent absences from school and/or a sudden decline in grades
  • Physical symptoms with no medical cause
  • Frequent sadness, tearfulness or crying
  • Hopelessness
  • Short temper
  • Trouble making decisions

Dr. Holland notes that two signs of depression are commonly missed in children. One of those signs is increased irritability. “People often associate depression with sadness, but children and adolescents may simply demonstrate increased irritability rather than overt signs of sadness like crying,” she says. It’s normal for children to be irritable at times such as when they’re overtired, stressed or not feeling well. But if your child has been unusually short-tempered or moody for weeks to months, this could be a sign of depression.

The other commonly missed sign of depression in children is somatic symptoms, meaning any health issues, such headaches or stomach aches, that do not have a physical cause. Again, it’s normal for children to not feel well occasionally. However, “If the school nurse says your child is getting a stomachache every day during math class, that could be a red flag,” says Dr. Holland.

You May Like: How To Get Ssi For Depression

How Can I Find Help For My Child

If youre concerned that your child might be depressed, start with your pediatrician or other primary care provider. Some clinics and health centers will have in-house mental health services, and you may be able to have your child seen there. Some doctors will have links to local therapists with experience with young children. Mental health specialists can be in short supply , so be open to the possibility of care being delivered remotely, through telehealth. Dr. Kovacs also suggested that parents who are looking for treatment consider clinical psychology department clinics at a local university, where students in psychology and counseling are supervised by licensed psychologists she said such clinics often have good availability.

What Causes Child Depression

The Signs of Depression in Children

Different things can lead to depression. There is no single cause. Some children have genes that make them more sensitive to depression. They may have other family members who have been depressed.

Some children go through stressful things. Some have faced loss, trauma, or hardships. Some go through serious health conditions. These things can lead to sadness or grief and sometimes to depression.

Having extra support during and after hard times helps protect children from depression or lessen the effects. But even when they have good support, some children get depressed. Therapy can help them heal, feel better, and get back to enjoying things.

You May Like: Motivation To Clean House When Depressed

Anxiety In Children And Adolescents

Children can feel anxious about different things at different ages. Many of these worries are a natural part of growing up.

From the age of around 6 months to 3 years it’s very common for young children to have separation anxiety. They may become clingy and cry when separated from their parents or caregivers. This is a normal stage in a child’s development and should stop by the time they reach around 2 to 3 years old.

It’s also common for preschool-age children to develop specific fears or phobias, including animals, insects, storms, heights, water, blood and the dark. These fears usually go away gradually on their own.

Many children feel anxious when going to a new school or before exams. Some children feel shy in social situations.

If your child does not outgrow common fears and worries, or if it starts interfering with school, home or play, it may mean they need support from a mental health professional.

Remember, only a doctor or a mental health professional can diagnose a mental health condition, so dont hesitate to ask your health-care provider for advice if you are worried about your child.

Nurture Resiliency And Calm

Most kids are, by nature, resilient, adaptable, and stronger than we imagine. However, we need to nurture their coping skills to boost these traits, especially during times of crisis, as there is only so much each kid can take.

Brainstorm with your child what helps them relieve stress and feel calmer, and share what strategies help you. Coping includes both dealing with difficult emotions as well as using positive distractions. Ideas for distraction may include:

  • Art projects
  • Talking with friends
  • Watching TV or movies

In fact, studies show that media use is very helpful for kids in distress. Dealing with feelings head-on is often accomplished by talking things through, but also may include making goals, to-do lists, schedules, and future plans.

Don’t Miss: Depression Meds Without Weight Gain

Should I Ask About Suicidal Thoughts

The irritability and the anger or the flatness and the shutting down can be signs of profound sadness. And while suicide attempts by elementary school-aged children are rare, they do happen and have increased in recent years. Suicide was the second leading cause of death in children 10 to 14 in 2018, and a 2019 JAMA study showed increasing emergency room visits by children for suicidal thoughts or actions from 2007 to 2015 41 percent in children under 11 years old. The presence of suicidal thoughts should be seen as a call for help.

The most problematic myth about suicide is the fear that if you ask about suicide youre putting the idea in their heads, said Dr. Kovacs, who developed the Childrens Depression Inventory, which is used all over the world.

If youre dealing with a child for whom this is not an issue, theyre just going to stare at you like youre out of your head, Dr. Kovacs said. You cannot harm somebody by asking them.

But what if children say they have thought of suicide? As with adults, this suggests the child is living with pain and perhaps thinking about a way out. Dr. Kovacs said, children may imagine death as a release, a surcease, a relief.

Dr. Busman said that she works with children who may say, I dont want to kill myself but I feel so bad I dont know what else to do and say.

Feelings Of Anxiety Among Children Are Preventable And Treatable

signs of depression?

It is natural for children to feel worried and anxious at times, about things like friendships, speaking in front of a crowd or taking an exam. Its when the worrying continues and makes everyday life hard that anxiety becomes a problem. The good news is that with the right professional help and through developing positive coping skills, anxiety is treatable.

Jump to:

Read Also: Ssi For Adults With Depression And Anxiety

Popular Articles
Related news