Depression Home > Childhood Depression

Symptoms of Childhood Depression

Depression in children is more than just having the "blues" now and then; it is a persistent condition in which children may suffer from low self-esteem and have a hard time coping with everyday activities and responsibilities or getting along with others.
Possible symptoms of childhood depression 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
  • Poor concentration
  • Thoughts or expressions of death, suicide, or self-destructive behavior
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • 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
  • Signs of not caring about anything (seen in children younger than six)
  • 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 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 depression is a treatable illness, and you can help your child get better.
(Click Symptoms of Depression in Children to learn more about these possible depression symptoms.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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