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Children Can Have Depression Too, Here’s How to Tell

Depression among children is something very real that should not be dismissed as laughing matter or an insignificant problem. It affects their emotional state, which in turn changes the way they think and behave in the future if the issue is not nipped in the bud. Especially during these times where COVID-19 has curtailed our movement and made us a lot more cautious, young children may not fully understand the magnitude of the matter and resort to sulking or throwing tantrums as they could not enjoy themselves outdoors.

But how can parents spot depression in their children? It can be something that is easily overlooked because young children can also be susceptible to mood swings, but with some extra careful observation, there are a few tell-tale signs that can be red flags for further action to be taken, where preventive actions will have to be taken so that the problem does not grow bigger.

  1. Changes in expression

Children are normally very expressive, so when they consistently display expressions of anger, crankiness, vocal outbursts, crying, mouthing off feelings of guilt and low self-worth, then it’s time to take notice especially if they normally don’t display these signs. Severe cases of depression may see children deliberately hurting themselves and/or the people around them, i.e. friends and siblings and some may also resort to unusual silence, shunning themselves away from activities and interaction, and self-retreat.

  1. Physical signs

Weight changes (drastic loss or gains), changes in eating and sleeping patterns, constant fatigue and sluggishness, etc. can also be signals of depression in children. This is as they may resort to over/under eating or sleeping as a mechanism to get over their depression, hence the change in their appearance. Parents should also be wary of the various health complications that can possibly come with these drastic changes in their daily life routines as these complications may manifest in many different forms which may worsen the depression itself.

  1. Changes in attitude/mindset

Attitude and mindset changes could be red flags as children (as bubbly as they normally are) begin to lose interest in pretty much everything in their lives and some may also express disdain towards their daily routine, or do not exhibit any keenness or excitement. If they start insisting that they do not want to be doing things/activities for pretty much everything, it is a sign of a young child who has lost all interest and worse, could lead to self-hurt and violence if not properly addressed.

All children are different and some may display some or all the symptoms above while some may not, but if parents look closer, they might just be able to spot when something about their child(ren) is off and could remedy the issue before it becomes worse. Depression is a silent killer and even adults suffer from it, so don’t take it lightly and overlook the fact that children, despite their generally playful and carefree nature are also susceptible to the condition. Knowing the red flags to depression might just about save lives in the present and also the future.