in children and teens is not rare. However, because normal behaviors vary from one childhood stage to another, it can be difficult to tell whether a child is just going through a temporary phase or is suffering from depression. Here is a list of symptoms and signs to help identify when a child is suffering from depression.
Common symptoms include: Depressed moodUnexplained anger or irritabilityIncreased worryingLoss of interest in activities once enjoyedSignificant change in appetite or body weightEarly morning awakeningChanges in sleep patterns, includes too little or too much sleep Psychomotor disturbance or delayDifficulty concentratingLoss of energyFeelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guiltAlcohol
substance abuseRecurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Frequent vague, nonspecific physical complaints such as headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, or tirednessNot wanting to go to school, which can lead to frequent absences and poor performancePretending to be sickOutbursts of shouting, complaining, or cryingBoredomDifficulty with relationships, including social isolation or poor communicationAlcohol
substance abuseClinging to parentExtreme sensitivity to rejection or failureReckless behaviorFear of death
Not every depressed child will experience every symptom. The severity of symptoms will vary from child to child. Depression can be serious, but it is treatable. If your child is showing any of these signs and symptoms,
talk with your child's doctor.
Depression in children and teens. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/depression-in-children-and-teens/. Updated August 2012. Accessed January 18, 2017.
How do children and adolescents experience depression?
National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/depression-in-children-and-adolescents.shtml. Updated October 2016. Accessed January 18, 2017.
Symptoms of depression. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at:
http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/mental_health/depression.html. Updated August 2016. Accessed January 18, 2017.
Last reviewed January 2017 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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