Depression in Children

A Sad Reality on the Rise…

Depression in children and teens is on the rise. Doctors and Parents are beginning to take this matter seriously.

Depression in teens carries a high risk of suicide. Sadly, the statistics for suicide among teens and young adults in the U.S. have reached epidemic proportions.

Anxiety and depression in teens and children have also been linked to the cruel and persistent bullying in schools.

Symptoms of Depression in Children

Common symptoms of depression in children and teens can be a little different than when they are adults. The symptoms of a child with depression are very subtle and can be easily confused with typical mood swings.

These are some of the most common symptoms of depression in children:

• Refusing to go to school and / or pretending to be sick

• Social isolation

• Sadness and sudden crying spells

• Irritability

• Hopelessness

• Fatigue and low energy

• Unusual worrying

• Clinging to his/her parents

• Trouble at school

• Excessive pessimism

• Feeling alone and misunderstood

Symptoms of depression in teenagers include:

• Anxiety

• Irritability and/or anger

• Social isolation

• Loss of enthusiasm for activities they used to enjoy

• Substance abuse

• Increased crying or reduced emotional expression

• Talking about death and dying

• Significant changes in appetite and noticeable weight gain or loss

• Sleep problems are a common sign of depression in teens but they are not as common in younger children

• Self-harming

• Being excessively negative

• Feeling misunderstood

Adolescence Can Be a Tough Time

Adolescence is a complicated time for almost everyone. It is a time filled with lots of changes.

I personally suffered tremendously during my teens. My self esteem was below the ground and I felt disgusted with myself. It is sad to say, but way too many teens go through these stages of self hate and self harming.

Sometimes, adolescents struggle to fit in the roles that others (friends, parents, society) establish for them, and this becomes not only stressful but at times overwhelming.

It is also a time in which children start to turn into adults and are forced to make important decisions for the first time. The pressure of making the right decisions definitely adds a burden of worry, anxiety and stress. Sometimes, teens will have to deal with the hassle of their peers in regards to sexuality and drugs. At this premature age, many will already become parents and some others will have to deal with the sad consequences of substance abuse.

It's important for parents to be able to recognize the signs of substance abuse. This page, Teenagers and Drugs, at Parenting Magic, can help with all aspects of this unfortunate reality.

Love is the Best Antidote

As soon as you recognize in your child any of these signs of depression, make sure you let your child know that he/she can always come to you for advice and support. Also, have a health professional evaluate the situation. Sometimes, having someone with an “objective” point of view will also help your child to open up.

The treatments for depression in children and teens are primarily therapy based and only in severe cases rely on depression medications. As a parent, you should never medicate your children with antidepressants or LEAVE ANY KIND OF ANTI-DEPRESSIVE MEDICATION WITHIN HIS/HER REACH.

Remember that depression is a life threatening condition. The increase of suicides among teenagers and young adults in recent years is a big concern not only for parents but for society in general. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among U.S. adolescents. An estimated of 5,000 suicides are reported per year. Depression is a factor in two thirds of all suicides.

Help your child move through these challenging times. Provide all the love, attention and support that you can give him/her. As I’ve said all over these pages, love is most powerful healing force...

Don't miss these additional articles:

Bullying and Children (Part I) and (Part II)
When talking about bullying and children we are not even close to realize how harmful this reality can be for children...

A Story of Teen Self Esteem
This story illustrates how deciding to be the victim of my situation created such an unnecessary drama in my life.

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