Childhood depression is a significant problem in America that often goes unnoticed and untreated. The American Counseling Association reports that 8.1% of children age 12 to 17 suffer from a major depressive episode, but 75% of children with behavioral and emotional disorders do not receive treatment for their issues. By understanding the signs of childhood depression, you can help your child get the treatment he or she needs as soon as possible. Here are some behaviors and emotions that you can watch out for.
Changes In Patterns And Routines
One of the most prominent signs of depression in children is a change in day-to-day habits, like eating, sleeping, or playing outside. Your once hungry child may lose his appetite completely. A child who usually sleeps soundly through the night may become sleepless, restless, and tired throughout the day. Your child’s behavioral patterns could indicate his depression long before his emotions come to the surface. Be aware of your child’s specific routines so you can notice changes when they develop.
Anger And Irritability
Traditionally, people expect someone with depression to be sad and withdrawn, but those aren’t the only signs to watch out for. If your child is unexpectedly angry, irritable, or defiant, he may be going through more than just a hormonal change. Try to get to the root of the problem and find out why your child is more emotional now than normal. Responding to an outburst with a bigger outburst may only make the problem worse.
This is a symptom of childhood depression that you may not notice at home. Instead, you may get notification from your child’s teacher or daycare worker that he is no longer playing with the other children. If your child participates in social activities, like sports, clubs, or church groups, watch how he interacts with others around him. If he seems more withdrawn than usual, there may be a problem below the surface that you need to address.
There are a number of reasons why a child may have difficulty concentrating. Some of them, like ADHD, require professional treatment to get through, and others simply come from a child’s short attention span. Nevertheless, if your child is noticeably struggling to pay attention to basic instructions and discussions, you may want to find out what is going on in his mind.