My Kid Is Sad: Symptoms Of Childhood Depression
Depression is a common diagnosis in today’s society. People feel down all the time, due to every day stressors, due to anxiety, due to a passing of a loved one. Many reasons make us feel sad and lose interest in pleasurable activities. When we think of children, however, we want to imagine a world filled with colors, rainbows and happiness. We all want to go back to being children with all our worries gone and no to-do lists hanging over our heads. Yes, we as children experience sadness and worrisome thoughts but it was so far away in the past that we think of them as fleeting and passing. What would we think if we knew that children, same as adults, get diagnosed with depression? Childhood depression. Two words that no parent wants to hear being associated with their child. So how do we know to recognize the symptoms of childhood depression so that we can deal with it and take care of it as soon as we find out?
What causes children to become so sad that they get diagnosed with depression? And how do we know and recognize that our child is actually experiencing depression? If your child is sad, there is no need to worry, he might not have any significant depression, it’s when the sadness doesn’t go away, that’s when you need to start worrying. Children express their feelings differently than we, adults do. They are much more likely to express their depression by acting out and showing that they are angry. Younger children are much more likely to do that, while children who are a bit older will be sad and have symptoms much more similar to adults.
Primary symptoms of childhood depression include:
- They will complain about stomachaches and headaches but they will not go away after treatment
- Sleep disturbance
- Low energy
- Being sensitive to rejection
- Decrease in sociability
- Not being able to participate in events (hobbies & interests)
- Not being able to concentrate.
- Feeling worthless and guilty
- Thoughts of suicide or death (although not expressed the same way as adults might express it)
Some of the causes that lead to childhood depression revolve around their family situation, their friends, school/day care success. If there is any history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse to them or their relatives, depression rates in children increase.
In order to treat a child that suffers from depression, he or she will need to see a professional that specializes in childhood psychology and depression. Therapy might be needed in order to challenge the negative thoughts of worthlessness and guilt that the child might be experiencing. A few behavioral techniques that show the child that he or she is not hopeless or helpless in changing the situation they feel sad in.
It is very important to recognize the symptoms of childhood depression and diagnose it as soon as possible, because it can leave very significant negative consequences if left untreated. Children go through many vary important developmental changes and it is highly crucial for them to hit all the milestones in order to grow and develop to their full potential. Depression may pose a hazard to that successful development and can cause significant mood changes for the future of the child, so the faster it is noticed and the faster it is treated – the better it is.
Valerie is a psychology student who is trying to pursue a career in Cognitive Neuroscience. She is passionate about the brain and finds it fascinating. She loves learning about new discoveries and research that is going on in the world of psychology and neuroscience. One day she hopes to contribute to the scientific community!