Getting down in the dumps now and then is a normal thing for children to experience. Children face many stress factors such as social problems and getting bad grades. Changes taking place in the home will also affect a child’s mood. However, some children will experience true depression and parents will want to know how to recognize the signs of depression to get their child help as soon as possible.
A child who is becoming depressed may seem lazy or may seem to act out in bad behavior. Their room my look like a mess, their clothes will be sloppy and they might show signs of poor hygiene. These are not just normal problems-they are serious clues to let you know something is wrong.
Depression is not always obvious. It can start out subtle, taking a parent time to recognize a problem. One day the child may seem as though he or she does not feel well. The depression will continue and get worse.
Signs of Depression
3. Poor hygiene
4. Poor memory and concentration.
5. A loss or increase in appetite.
6. A loss of interest in activities.
A child who is becoming depressed may over sleep or the child will not be able to sleep at all. Over sleeping or insomnia will cause a person to feel as though they have very little energy during the day. This is usually the first sign and is subtle.
Depression leads a person to become very irritable. They may express this irritability in the form of explosive moods or they become extremely sensitive and cry a lot.
Poor hygiene is a major warning sign that someone is experiencing depression. They may ignore brushing their teeth, combing their hair, showering or getting dressed. A person going through depression may not ignore all of these but most of the time there will be a change.
Poor Memory and Concentration
Someone who is Dealing with emotions after a divorce might seem as though they are procrastinating in certain areas. A child might forget to do his or her homework. A child might have a hard time focusing when studying. Their school grades will begin to suffer from this They may seem restless and fidgety when attempting to do a task.
A Loss or Increase in Appetite
The child going through depression may not feel hungry, and their normal intake will decrease. The other side of this, is the child may continuously feel hungry and overeat trying to fill a void where they feel emotionally empty.
A Loss of Interest in Activities
Children who are depressed will withdraw from their normal routines. They will lose interest in playing with their toys and friends. For no apparent reason, they might choose to quit their social activities. For example, they may choose to stop going to baseball practice.
Severe depression can cause suicidal thoughts. The signs of a child having suicidal thoughts are very similar to the symptoms of depression. They include being restless, explosive moods and wanting to keep themselves isolated.
Other signs of suicide involve giving their stuff away or saying they want to die. These children may try to harm themselves during an explosive outburst by hitting themselves or cutting themselves. Children suffering from severe depression may actually attempt to commit suicide.
Knowing what depression is and understanding what it looks like will help a parent tell the difference between the normal (every-now-and-then) blues and something more serious. If your child or the child of someone you know is showing any of the signs listed, it is imperative to seek help immediately.