The symptoms of anxiety in kids vary. It is frequently undiagnosed and untreated due to the fact that they are passed off as regular emotional and mental modifications that occur during development. Early medical research studies focused on “masked” depression, where a kid’s depressed mood was evidenced by acting out or upset habits. While this does take place, especially in more youthful kids, many children display unhappiness or low mood just like adults who are depressed. The primary symptoms of depression revolve around unhappiness, a feeling of hopelessness, and state of mind modifications.
Youth depression is various from the typical “blues” and daily emotions that happen as a kid establishes. Just because a kid seems sad, this does not always suggest she or he has substantial anxiety. If the unhappiness ends up being relentless, or if disruptive habits that interferes with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork, or domesticity develops, it may indicate that she or he has a depressive disease. Bear in mind that while anxiety is a major health problem, it is also a treatable one. is Depressed?
Signs and symptoms of depression in kids consist of:
Irritability or anger.
Continuous sensations of unhappiness, despondence.
Increased sensitivity to rejection.
Changes in appetite– either increased or decreased.
Changes in sleep– insomnia or excessive sleep.
Vocal outbursts or crying.
Tiredness and low energy.
Physical problems (such as stomachaches, headaches) that do not respond to treatment
Reduced capability to operate throughout events and activities at home or with pals, in school, after-school activities, and in other hobbies or interests.
Sensations of insignificance or guilt.
Impaired thinking or concentration.
Ideas of death or suicide
Not all kids have all of these symptoms. In fact, many will show various signs at various times and in various settings. Although some children might continue to function fairly well in structured environments, many kids with considerable depression will suffer a noticeable modification in social activities, loss of interest in school and poor academic efficiency, or a change in appearance. Children might likewise start using drugs or alcohol, particularly if they are over the age of 12.
Although reasonably rare in youths under 12, young children do try suicide– and may do so impulsively when they are upset or upset. Women are more likely to attempt suicide, however boys are more likely to in fact kill themselves when they make an attempt. Children with a family history of violence, alcoholic abuse, or physical or sexual abuse are at greater threat for suicide, as are those with depressive signs.
Which Children Get Depressed?
About 2.5% of children in the U.S. suffer from depression. Depression is significantly more common in boys under the age of 10. But by age 16, girls have a greater incidence of depression.
Bipolar disorder is more common in adolescents than in younger children. Bipolar disorder in children can, however, be more severe than in adolescents. It may also occur with, or be hidden by, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or conduct disorder (CD).
What Causes Depression in Children?
As in adults, depression in children can be caused by any combination of factors that relate to physical health, life events, family history, environment, genetic vulnerability and biochemical disturbance. Depression is not a passing mood, nor is it a condition that will go away without proper treatment.
Can Depression in Children Be Prevented?
Children with a family history of depression are at greater risk of experiencing depression themselves. Children who have parents that suffer from depression tend to develop their first episode of depression earlier than children whose parents do not. Children from chaotic or conflicted families, or children and teens who abuse substances like alcohol and drugs, are also at greater risk of depression.
How is the Diagnosis Made?
If the symptoms of depression in your child have lasted for at least two weeks, you should schedule a visit with his or her doctor to make sure there are no physical reasons for the symptoms and to make sure that your child receives proper treatment. A consultation with a mental healthcare professional who specializes in children is also recommended.
A mental health evaluation should include interviews with you (as the parents) and your child, and any additional psychological testing that is necessary. Information from teachers, friends and classmates can be useful for showing that these symptoms are consistent during your child’s various activities and are a marked change from previous behavior.
There are no specific tests — medical or psychological — that can clearly show depression, but tools such as questionnaires (for both the child and parents) combined with personal information can be very useful.
What Are the Treatment Options?
Treatment options for children with depression are similar to those for adults, including psychotherapy (counseling) and medication. The role that family and the child’s environment play in the treatment process is different from that of adults. Your child’s doctor may suggest psychotherapy first, and consider antidepressant medicine as an additional option if there is no significant improvement. The best studies to date indicate that a combination of psychotherapy and medication is most effective.
However, studies do show that the antidepressant Prozac is effective in treating depression in children and teens. The drug is officially recognized by the FDA for treatment of children 8-18 with depression.
Treating children with bipolar disorder
Children with bipolar disorder are usually treated with psychotherapy and a combination of medicines, usually an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer.
Antidepressants need to be used with caution as they can trigger bouts of manic or hyperactive behavior.
The FDA warns that antidepressant medications may increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and adolescents with depression and other psychiatric disorders. If you have questions or concerns, discuss them with your health care provider.
What Can I Expect Long-Term?
Studies have found that first-time depression in children is occurring at younger ages than previously. As in adults, it may occur again later in life. Depression often occurs at the same time as other physical illnesses. And because studies have shown that depression may precede more serious mental illness later in life, diagnosis, early treatment and close monitoring are crucial.
A Parent’s Perspective
As a parent, it is sometimes easier to deny that your child has depression. You may put off seeking the help of a mental healthcare professional because of the social stigmas associated with mental illness. It is very important for you — as the parent — to understand depression and realize the importance of treatment so that your child may continue to grow physically and emotionally in a healthy way. It is also important to seek education about the future effects depression may have on your child throughout adolescence and adulthood.
Parents should be particularly vigilant for signs that may indicate that their child is at risk for suicide.
Warning signs of suicidal behavior in children include:
- Many depressive symptoms (changes in eating, sleeping, activities)
- Social isolation
- Talk of suicide, hopelessness, or helplessness
- Increased acting-out behaviors (sexual/behavioral)
- Increased risk-taking behaviors
- Frequent accidents
- Substance abuse
- Focus on morbid and negative themes
- Talk about death and dying
- Increased crying or reduced emotional expression
- Giving away possessions