Depression in Kids and Teens

Signs of Depression in Kids and Teens

Depression in young people can be hard to spot. Does your child show these signs?

May 11, 2016 | HF Healthy Living Team

Depression is the most common mental illness in the U.S. and affects people of all ages. Kids and teens with depression show different signs than adults, which can make it hard to tell when a child or a teenager is depressed. Young people also often need an adult’s help to get treatment, making it more difficult for them to get the support they need.

If your child or a child you know shows some of these signs for two weeks or longer, s/he may have depression. Find out below how you can help.

Click the photos below to learn more.

Anger or Irritability sign of Depression
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Anger or Irritability

 

Anger or Irritability sign of Depression
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Sadness is a major symptom of depression in adults, but younger people more often display constant anger or irritable moods. If your child or teen is always grumpy, mad, or hostile, s/he may be dealing with depression.

 

Headaches and Stomachaches sign of Depression
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Headaches and Stomachaches

 

Headaches and Stomachaches sign of Depression
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Frequent aches and pains are signs of depression. If your child is often in pain even though s/he is not physically sick, it might be the result of depression.

 

Loss of Energy a sign of Depression
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Loss of Energy

 

Loss of Energy a sign of Depression
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If your child struggles to get out of bed, go to school, do his or her homework, or spend time with friends, don’t blame it on laziness. S/he may not be able to do these things because depression is causing constant tiredness or lack of interest.

 

Emotional Sensitivity a sign of Depression
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Emotional Sensitivity

 

Emotional Sensitivity a sign of Depression
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If your child is easily offended or reacts badly to criticism, it may be a result of low self-esteem and feelings of failure. Both are common symptoms of depression, and your child may be suffering.

 

Change of Friends a sign of Depession
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Change of Friends

 

Change of Friends a sign of Depession
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While adults with depression may isolate themselves socially, kids and teens tend to keep a few close friends and withdraw from others. Decreased social activity, shutting out parents or other adults, and a change in social groups are signs of depression.

 

Suicidal Talk a sign of Depession
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Suicidal Talk

 

Suicidal Talk a sign of Depession
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If your child frequently talks about death, dying, or suicide, get help. Even making jokes about killing oneself can be a sign that your child is depressed and in danger.

 

Getting Help

If your child is depressed, don’t blame yourself but do get help as soon as possible. Talk to your child’s doctor about your child’s behavior. A doctor will be able to advise you on the best treatment options for your child, which may include counseling and/or medication.

You can help your child manage his or her difficult feelings by encouraging him or her stick to a treatment plan and by giving support. Rather than dismissing your child’s feelings or telling him or her to ‘get over it,’ urge your child to talk to you or someone s/he trusts about the way s/he is feeling. Remind your child that feelings of depression are not his or her fault, and don’t mean that s/he is doing anything wrong.

If you believe that a child is suicidal or in danger of harming him or herself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK for 24/7 counseling support. Don’t wait! Taking action can save a life.


 

© 2016 HF Management Services, LLC.

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies. This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

Sources
“Anxiety and Depression in Children,” Anxiety and Depression Association of America. July 2015.
http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/children/anxiety-and-depression

“Depression in Teens,” Mental Health America. Accessed February 19, 2016.
http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression-teens

“Understanding Depression,” KidsHealth. March 2015.
http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/understanding-depression.html#

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