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: Persistent sad or irritable moodLoss of interest in activities once enjoyedSignificant change in appetite or body weightDifficulty sleeping or oversleepingPsychomotor agitation or retardationLoss of energyFeelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guiltDifficulty concentratingRecurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Frequent vague, nonspecific physical complaints such as headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, or tirednessFrequent absences from school or poor performance in schoolPretending to be sickNot wanting to go to schoolTalk of or efforts to run away from homeOutbursts of shouting, complaining, unexplained irritability, or cryingBeing boredLack of interest in playing with friendsAlcohol
substance abuseSocial isolation, poor communicationClinging to parentFear of deathExtreme sensitivity to rejection or failureIncreased irritability, anger, or hostilityReckless behaviorDifficulty with relationships
Not every depressed child will experience every symptom—some will experience a few symptoms, some many; and the severity of symptoms will vary from child to child. Depression can be very serious, but it is treatable. If your child is showing any of these signs and symptoms,
talk with your child's doctor.
Last reviewed January 2013 by Brian Randall, 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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