Could your child be depressed?
Depression is a serious mood disorder that often goes undetected in children because it may not look the same as it does in adults. Kids experience many of the same feelings and symptoms, but find it difficult to articulate and express. Diagnosis is also complicated by the fact that changes in academic, social, or emotional functioning can be normal childhood behaviors. For instance, increased temper tantrums and misbehavior could indicate depression rather than defiance.
Other signs and symptoms include:
- Frequent irritation, sadness, anger, or boredom
- Excessive crying
- Withdrawal, loss of interest in hobbies, friends, or playing
- Unexplained aches and pains; stomachaches and headaches are common
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Thinking about death or suicide
Children who appear depressed may actually be experiencing anxiety. Pay attention to your child. If she is showing symptoms that do not resolve with communication, support, and encouragement, a visit to the pediatrician is in order. Treatment generally includes professional counseling, medicines, and family work.
Have you ever suspected or confirmed your child is depressed rather than just sad or upset?
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