Child depression is a mental illness in which a child feels worthless and is generally sad for a long time each day. About 5 percent of children and adolescents suffer from depression at any given time.
Child depression can occur in both small children and teens. The signs are generally the same as adult depression. If the child has feelings of worthlessness, guilt, gets sick without reason, thinks of death, or becomes distant, he or she might be depressed. It is often caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Episodes of child depression can last from six to nine months on average, but in some children, the episodes can last for years
The behavior of depressed children and teenagers may differ from the behavior of depressed adults. Child and adolescent psychiatrists advise parents to be aware of signs of depression in their children. If one or more of these signs of depression persist, the caregiver should seek help. Early diagnosis and medical treatment are essential for depressed children. This is a real illness that requires professional help.
• Frequent sadness, tearfulness, crying
• Decreased interest in activities; or inability to enjoy previously favorite activities
• 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 stomachaches
• 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