Symptoms of Depression in Children
Physical symptoms of depression in children can include:
- A major change -- either an increase or a decrease -- in eating and/or sleeping patterns
- Frequent complaints of physical illnesses, such as headaches and stomachaches
- Low energy.
Mental symptoms may include:
- Poor concentration
- Thoughts or expressions of death, suicide, or self-destructive behavior
- Difficulty making decisions.
Emotional depression symptoms in children may include:
- Frequent sadness, tearfulness, or crying
- Empty or hopeless feelings
- Feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, and guilt
- Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
- Increased irritability, anger, or hostility
- Clinging to a parent or worrying that the parent may die.
Behavioral symptoms may include:
- A decreased interest in activities or an inability to enjoy former favorite activities
- Persistent boredom
- Withdrawal from other children and adults
- Lack of communication with others
- Difficulty with relationships
- Pretending to be sick or refusing to go to school
- Poor performance in school
- Talk of, or efforts to, run away from home
- Substance abuse.
If you notice one or more of these possible signs of depression, or if you are worried that your child might be depressed, don't panic! Your child doesn't necessarily have depression just because he or she has some of these signs. But if your child does have depression, the good news is that this is a treatable illness, and you can help your child get better.