Many people wonder if children and teens can really get depressed. The answer is yes.
In the case of teens, parents may think that symptoms of depression are actually normal teen emotional mood swings. While this can be true, there are times when signs of depression in children and teens really can be signs of true illness of depression.
SIGNS OF DEPRESSION IN CHILDREN & TEENS
We are not medical professionals. Please seek medical advice if needed.
SIGNS OF DEPRESSION IN CHILDREN
Parents should be vigilant for any talk about suicide or morbid fascination with death. Other sources point out that television and movies should be carefully monitored, both for the potentially depressing subject matter and for the psychological effects of TV viewing in general.
- Sleep disturbances or changes in sleep habits
- Sudden increase or decrease in appetite
- Angry outbursts and/or irritability
- Lack of interest in social activities or friends
- “Touchy” about perceived rejection
SIGNS OF DEPRESSION IN TEENS
Some of the signs of depression in teens are the same as those in children; some are different. As with children, parents of teens should be keenly aware of any indications of suicidal thoughts. Music, movies, and television are also sources of potentially depressing images and subject matter.
- Weight loss or gain
- Over-exercise and/or obsessive dieting
- Binge eating
- Angry outbursts/yelling at parents
- Withdrawal from social activities and family
WHAT CAUSES KIDS TO SUCCUMB TO DEPRESSION?
As in adults, depression may have multiple causes or one cause that varies among individuals. There are some factors that are unique to certain stages of life, however.
Children may become depressed because of genetics (like adults). They may have inherited a tendency toward depression, and perhaps there was a trigger that caused it to surface. Bullying at school is also something children may have to face that is not a factor for adults.
A child with a tendency toward perfectionism may be more prone to depression as well, sources say. Children with this tendency may “beat themselves up” unnecessarily over failures or perceived failures.
This age group is considered particularly prone to depression. This may be due in part to the hormonal upheavals that occur during the teen years. But be careful – it’s easy for adults to take this information and think “it’s just hormones” and therefore think the depression does not need to be addressed.
Teens may also be dealing with bullying at school, or even just “harmless” teasing. They may be experiencing their first crush or rejection. Other causes may be purely physiological; maybe nothing is particularly wrong in the teen’s life, but his or her brain just seems to run in a depressed mode.
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