While depression is usually treated in adults and young adults, it is possible that it exists in children, as well. Because depression is a disease that can stem from numerous factors, including hormonal imbalances, it’s possible that it can occur in children, too. Here are a few signs that your child may be suffering from depression.
1. Irritability or Anger
One of the most common signs of depression in children is irritability or anger. However, this doesn’t always mean that your child is depressed. Sometimes they may be suffering from another problem. Yet, one indicator that your child may have depression is if they suffer bouts of anger.
Perhaps they suddenly unleash in a rage. Or maybe they become annoyed or irritated with something or someone quickly. This doesn’t happen regularly either. It can happen in bouts or it may seem cyclic. When this behavior is coupled with moments when your child is feeling down, then it’s likely they’re suffering from depression.
2. Continous Feelings of Sadness and Hopelessness
A common symptom that is shared between children and adults is a sense of sadness and hopelessness. They may look at their surroundings or the future and feel entirely hopeless about it. They may not even understand why they feel hopeless. If your child doesn’t see a future ahead of them or feel that they’ll never be happy again, then it could be due to depression.
This feeling of sadness and hopelessness can occur at random. They may be perfectly fine one day, only to suddenly feel entirely hopeless about everything the next day. Because depression plays with hormones, it’s a luck-of-the-draw that determines how their hormones will align on any given day.
3. Social Withdrawal
A big indicator that your child suffers from depression is if they withdraw socially. Perhaps your child had a lot of friends or was vocal in class. Now they have less and less friends. Or perhaps they don’t go out to play with their friends anymore. You should also speak to their teachers to determine if they’re still vocal and participating in class.
It’s important that you don’t mistake their social withdrawal with shyness or social anxiety. Both of these problems are things your child may grow out of, as they grow older and feel more confident about themselves. You should worry if your child was social and suddenly became less social.
4. Changes in Appetite
You may discover that their appetite also changes. Sometimes this may be due to their growth spurts. However, a sudden increase or decrease could be indicative of depression. Some may turn to food for comfort. Others may be so trapped in their depression that they have no desire to eat.
Keeping track of your child’s eating habits is a good way to establish what their normal appetite is. Then you can compare any sudden changes that they develop, as well as determine if it’s caused by depression or another factor.
5. Changes in Sleep
While teenagers may be more prone to staying up at night, if the change in their sleep is sudden, then it could be due to depression. Depression often comes with insomnia or a sense of lethargy. Children may be unable to fall asleep at night, even after trying. Or they may be unable to get out of bed.
For teenagers, you may notice that they already have difficulty getting out of bed. This is due to the energy toll it takes on their growing bodies. However, no teenager should stay in bed for long hours on end. Nor should they spend most of the day in bed. Signs of this could be depression.
6. Physical Aches
Depression isn’t just mental either. It can cause pain. Your child may come to you with feelings of a stomach ache or even a headache. After being given pain medications or something to ease their stomach, they may still experience the pain. These are symptoms of depression.
7. Difficulty Concentrating
Depression can also make it difficult to get out of your own head. Your children may find it difficult to concentrate. You might be able to notice this in their performance at school. Their grades might start to decline. They may even be late to class.
For those who partake in sports, their performance might suffer. They may show up to practice late or just not perform as well as they used to. This could be due to being distracted by their depression.
Depression can happen to anyone. Due to the changing hormones in a child, as they grow, it can be difficult to determine if the symptoms they show are due to depression or just growing pains. However, if they exhibit the above symptoms, then it may be worth speaking to a doctor or psychologist about depression.