Learning the Subtle Signs of Childhood Depression

It may seem odd to hear that children can suffer from depression, but the reality is it’s true. Childhood depression most commonly occurs in those aged 12 years or older, but that does not mean it can’t manifest even earlier.

Childhood depression is most common in boys under the age of 10; however by 16 years old, young women have a greater incidence of depressive behavior.

Symptoms can occur over time and fluctuate, so it is important to monitor your child’s fluctuations in mood and social interactions with their peers along with you and other family members.

Some symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Behavioral outbursts and tantrums
  • Lack of concentration
  • Fatigue

Depression maybe related to several other mental health issues ranging from ADHD, bipolar disorder or even bulimia. It is important to not confuse depression with what may just be a bad day, but as a parent you should be equipped with an understanding of the symptoms.

Often the first signs of childhood depression are what medical experts describe as “masked” or expressions of anger or misbehavior. Depression is often a reflection of the child’s own feelings of sadness and/or hopelessness.

Aside from outward emotional expressions, more severe issues such as drug use or physical abuse can be telling signs of depression. Children may be less apt to share why they are in a depressive state, which is why seeking advice or help for your child from a professional is an important first step to take in their treatment.

Begin creating a healthy home by fostering a structured environment with open communication between you and your child. This won’t necessarily prevent depression, but it will certainly make the treatment stage easier for all.

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