The Reality of Childhood Depression

SAD 2While few people actually envision children and youth when they are picturing depression, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says that approximately one of every 20 kids and teens may be dealing with depression. That means that one child in each school classroom could be struggling with this disease. Very few families expect that that one child to be living in their own home.

How Can a Parent Know?
Not every child who feels low is depressed. Sadness is part of the normal range of human emotion. So how can a parent tell if their child is depressed? There are some clues to recognize that your child is struggling with depression, here are some signs to watch for:

  • Sadness that results from a particular circumstance can be normal and isn’t necessarily depression
  • Sadness that comes and goes may be normal feelings
  • Sadness that persists and is not connected to any identifiable event deserves a second look
  • A history of depression in the family tree means parents should be alert
  • A child who seems angry and unusually irritable could be showing signs of depression. While depression in adulthood can trigger isolation and sullenness, in children it is often expressed in angry outbursts.

What Can a Parent Do?
It’s very important that parents who see warning signs get their child in for a medical appointment as soon as possible. A brief screening often is enough to discover depression. Not getting help may make symptoms worse. Treatment, on the other hand, is highly effective.

If your child seems sad for no apparent reason or is showing signs of unexplained anger, make an appointment with your family physician or bring them in to Family Guidance today. We can help you and your child move beyond depression to a healthy life.