Warning Signs of Child Depression: Red Flags from IL

By: Mike Shery

Depression is not just an affliction of adults. Your children or teenagers also may also suffer from it.

You should consider treatment for them when their severely melancholy and sad feelings persist and interfere with their ability to function. This is not a small matter. It has been estimated that approximately 5 percent of children and adolescents suffer from depression at some point in time.

If you have a child under stress who has experienced a significant loss or who has been diagnosed with an attentional, learning or anxiety disorder, you should consider him or her at higher risk for a form of depression that may require treatment.

Depression can also run in families, so be attuned to your familys history. Also, your depressed kids may present symptoms that seem different from those of adults. It is important to be aware of any signs of depression in your kids.

Seek help for your child if one or more of the following signs persist:
Frequent sadness, tearfulness or crying,

Expressions of hopelessness,

Withdrawal from activities; inability to enjoy them,

Persistent feelings of boredom or low energy,

Social isolation, poor communication or manifestations of low self esteem,

Unwarranted expressions of guilt,

Excessive sensitivity to rejection or failure; taking things to personally,

Increased irritability or hostility,

Too many relationship problems,

Persistent malaise or frequent complaints of physical illness, such as headaches, backaches or stomachaches,

Frequent absences, disciplinary problems or poor performance in school,

Poor concentration in school or elsewhere,

Any major change in eating and/or sleeping patterns,
Frequent discussions about or efforts to run away from home,

Expressions of suicide or the frequent occurrence of self destructive behavior.

Also, if your kid used to play often with friends but now spends most of his or her time alone or in solitary pursuits, take note.

Things that were once fun but that now seem to bring little joy to your kid may signal depression. Also, if your child or adolescent is depressed, he or she may talk of wanting to be dead or commit suicide.

Remember, that if your adolescent is depressed, he or she is at an increased risk for suicide and is more likely to abuse alcohol or other drugs in order to feel better.

If your kids or adolescents frequently cause trouble at home or at school, it may be a signal that they may actually be depressed but not be aware of it. Even though your youngster may not always seem sad, his or her troublesome behavior may, in fact, still be a sign of depression.

Early diagnosis and psychological treatment are essential to help depressed kids. Comprehensive treatment often includes professionals from different specialties, individual and family therapy and sometimes the use of antidepressant medication.

For expert help for your kid, locate a psychologist who is experienced in treating children and adolescents.

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