Depression in Children: Reasons, Symptoms and Diagnosis

Depression among children, especially teenagers, has been on the rise for some time but has only been taken precariously in the last two decades. While it is natural for young people to encounter sad days or mood swings, clinically depressed youths may represent five percent of the U.S. population. Improved parental awareness and diagnostic techniques have helped detect this problem and open the doors for more kids to receive psychiatric treatment for teen depression.

Unfortunately, there is no particular cause that has been known for depression. It is known that there is a more meaningful existence of depression within specific families, promoting the idea that genetics might be an unexplored factor contributing to the biochemical causes of this severe disorder. When a partiality for depression is compounded with social and environmental factors early in life, this illness’s symptoms may surface in adolescence.

We currently have a social environment with a more significant number of psychosocial influences than in previous eras. We could argue that this particular point in time has no more negative consequences than prior generations. Even accepting that premise, the scenario is exacerbated in new ways by the constant flow of information via social media and the internet. The current consensus is that low self-esteem is probably the single most significant factor or occurs regularly within this adolescent illness symptoms. The behavior of viewing one’s self negatively helps develop a pessimistic worldview. The deluge of information regarding current adverse events (COVID-19, Forest Fires) magnifies their children and adolescents’ pressure.

In an economic climate with lousy unemployment, there is an impact on the kids and children in affected households. The stressors of having one or both mother and father not working will only compound the kid’s lowered self-esteem and the following pessimism. The lack of discretionary income will filter down to kids and decrease their ability to pursue activities with their friends, along with a complete set of social problems. If the family situation’s economics extends to losing the home, the blow to the kid’s view of themselves and their life can be enormous. The displacement and uncertainty they experience are factors that will come into play for any child that tends toward depression.

Growing up can be hard in the best of times. Between parental expectations and peer pressures, the formative years can become a crucible force that negatively affects a kid’s sense of self. With social issues and economic uncertainty compounding the stress, the problem becomes much more acute. Sadly, the rates of mental health issues occurring in teens are likely to continue increasing. Fortunately, early diagnosis has become more prevalent as the population becomes more aware of mental health issues.

Symptoms of Depression in Children:

  • Irritability or anger
  • Changes in appetite — either increased or decreased
  • Changes in sleep — excessive sleep or sleeplessness
  • Increased sensitivity to rejection
  • Crying or Vocal outbursts
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Physical complaints (such as headaches, stomachaches)
  • Continuous feelings of hopelessness and sadness
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Impaired concentration or thinking
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Social withdrawal

Not all kids have all of these symptoms that we covered above. Most teens will display varying symptoms at varying times and in separate settings. Although some kids may continue to perform reasonably well in friendly environments, most kids with severe depression will suffer poor academic performance and loss of interest in school, a noticeable change in social behavior, or even a change in appearance. Children may also start using alcohol or drugs, mainly if they are over 12.

How Is Depression Diagnosed in Children?

If the symptoms of depression in your kid have lasted for at least a couple of weeks, you must schedule a visit with their doctor to ensure there are no reasons for the signs and make sure that your kid receives proper treatment. A consultation with a mental health care professional who specializes in children is also adviced. Keep in mind that the doctor may ask to speak with your kid alone.

A mental health evaluation should involve interviews with you (the primary caregiver or parent) and your kid, and any additional psychological testing necessary. Information from friends, teachers, and school colleagues can help determine that these symptoms are consonant during your kid’s different activities and are a visible change from past behavior.

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