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Insight into Childhood Depression Symptoms

written by: Kelly Marquize • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 12/8/2010

Depression is not a respecter of age. It is not limited to adults; children can suffer from depression too. Read on to find out what the symptoms of childhood depression are.

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    Adults are not the only ones who deal with depression. An increasing amount of adolescents are plagued with depression as well. While most symptoms are the same among adults and children, there are a few symptoms that vary. In this article, you will learn what to look for and gain insight into childhood depression symptoms. Most of the time, a parent will recognize changes in their child's mood and/or behavior. If these changes are similar to one's listed below, do not hesitate to seek professional advice.

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    Childhood Depression Symptoms

    One of the differences between adult and childhood depression symptoms is that children may be more likely to "complain of unexplained aches and pains, irritability and social withdrawal” (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, 2010). Depression may also be accompanied by behavioral problems.

    Parents should pay close attention to their child if they begin to withdraw from their friends and social activities, pretend to be sick, try to avoid going to school, or become easily agitated or irritable. While some changes in behavior or mood may be perfectly normal, it is essential that these behaviors be closely monitored to rule out the possibility of depression.

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    What To Look For

    According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), the following symptoms should be taken seriously. If your child has displayed some of the symptoms below, you should seek help for your child.

    • Frequent sadness, tearfulness, crying
    • Decreased interest in activities; or inability to enjoy previously favorite activities
    • Hopelessness
    • Persistent boredom; low energy
    • Social isolation, poor communication
    • Low self-esteem and guilt
    • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
    • Increased irritability, anger, or hostility
    • Difficulty with relationships
    • Frequent complaints of physical illnesses such as headaches and stomach aches
    • Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school
    • Poor concentration
    • A major change in eating and/or sleeping patterns
    • Talk of or efforts to run away from home
    • Thoughts or expressions of suicide or self-destructive behavior
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    What To Do If Your Child Is Depressed

    Now that have some insight into childhood depression symptoms, you are well armed and able to recognize these symptoms. Everyone feels depressed or sad at times, but if these feelings are persistent, then there is something wrong. By monitoring your child’s behavior, you can deal with any symptoms as soon as they surface.

    Approximately 5% of adolescents display symptoms of depression, so this is not uncommon. Depression can be treated and with great success. If your child shows signs of depression, you should seek professional help immediately. Getting help will greatly reduce these symptoms and enable your child to live a happy, healthy life.

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    References

    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2008). The Depressed Child. Retrieved December 7, 2010, from http://aacap.org/page.ww?name=The+Depressed+Child&section=Facts+for+Families

    Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (2010). Depression Across the Lifespan. Retrieved December 7, 2010, from http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_depression_lifespan&gclid=COC7v5zT1aUCFQ687Qodl2XHlQ