Depression affects 3.2% of children and adolescents in the United States. Researchers used to think that only adults experienced depression, but now we know that is not true. Children can have trouble regulating their emotions and maintaining a positive outlook on life.
If you notice your child or teen has been struggling, look out for these signs of depression in children. Knowing what to look for will help you catch the problem early on and get the help your child needs.
Read on to learn more about childhood depression and the five signs you should look out for.
Table of Contents
1. Sleeping Habit Changes
It is normal to sleep in on occasion, but lacking the motivation to get out of bed is a different story. Depression can make your child feel physically exhausted before the day even begins. It makes tasks like getting out of bed and getting ready for the day feel impossible.
You may also notice that your child sleeps more during the day to pass time, instead of engaging in activities. Child depression may also show up in the form of insomnia. Children can have anxious thoughts that keep them awake or wake them up at night.
2. Changes in Appetite
Children with depression can experience an increase or decrease in appetite. Some children may not be hungry at all. Poor sleep habits from depression can affect your child’s hunger hormones.
If you notice a change in how your child approaches food, be wary. Keep a close eye to find the cause of the appetite change.
3. Behavior Problems
Depression in children can show up in unexpected ways. You may find that your child has more behavior problems at school than usual. Depression can affect a child’s ability to learn and focus in school.
Childhood depression can cause unpredictable behavior and changes in a child’s typical mood. A child who enjoys school might now say he hates it and become frustrated easily. Unexpected outbursts from a well-behaved child should cause a teacher concern.
4. Lack of Interest
Depression can take the joy out of the things we love most in life. It is not different for children and adolescents. You may find that your child is no longer interested in the things they love, and this is alarming.
Losing interest is one of the main signs of depression. Children with depression may stop wanting to see friends or take part in social activities. It is isolating for our children, and they need help understanding their feelings. If you notice this in your child, seek professional help.
5. Irritability and Mood Swings
Depression can cause children to have persistent mood swings. Children may burst into tears or have a sudden fit of anger. They may also shut down and withdraw.
The mood change is normal, but if you notice it happening for more than a few days, it may be a sign of depression.
Take Note of the Signs of Depression in Children
The signs of depression in children can show up in many different ways. Remember, sadness is a normal emotion for children. It is when that sadness lasts for weeks or longer that you should seek help.
If you suspect your child is suffering from depression, contact us today to schedule an appointment.