When we think of depression and anxiety, we often discuss adults – however, children can experience depression too. In act, a whopping 2.7 million children in the United States have experienced depression.
Now, let me be clear, depression goes beyond the normal blues that everyone experiences. Clinical depression can impede functioning, is consistent, and typically interferes with normal activities. Depression isn’t just extreme sadness, it affects children and adults alike in a myriad of ways. In children, depression can present differently than it does in adults. Below, I will go over 7 signs of depression in children.
1. Their eating habits change.
Research has shown that children who are obese are nearly twice as likely to have depression than those with normal body weight. Conversely, while some children are more likely to be emotional eaters, some children may start eating less.
2. They lose interest in fun activities.
Childhood should be a time of freedom and fun, but depression can inhibit this greatly. If you notice your child is no longer motivated to do the things they once enjoyed, it may be time to get to the root of the problem.
3. Their energy levels plummet.
While most people associate depression with a sad mood, depression isn’t just sadness. A lack of motivation and low energy levels is one of the most prominent signs, even in kids.
4. They become irritable.
Another major indicator of childhood depression is anger. A lot of times, parents and teachers alike may see an angry child and label them as ‘bad’, when in reality- it’s far more likely that their mental health is suffering.
5. They struggle to pay attention.
Depression can take up a lot of space in your mind. Not only that, but depression also uses up your energy. Parents can be quick to associate poor concentration with ADD, when in reality- it’s often a symptom of depression.
6. They start misbehaving at school.
Children do not have the emotional maturity to be able to know when they are depressed. Instead, they show their emotions through whatever means are available to them. One path is the path of misbehavior.
7. They become hyper fixated on death.
It is normal for a child to ask about death-death is confusing, even to adults. But, if you notice that your child suddenly becomes fixated on death, something deeper is likely at play.