- Frequent sadness, tearfulness, hopelessness
- Decreased interest in activities
- Persistent boredom; low energy
- Extreme sensitivity to failure
- Increased irritability and hostility
-Frequent complaints of physical illnesses such as headaches and stomachaches
-Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school
-A major change in eating and/or sleeping habits
- Talk of running away from home
-Thoughts of suicide.
Depression is common, at least 5-6 percent of older children and teenagers will be affected. Symptoms can be severe and short lived or prolonged and smoldering. They may start as normal reactions to stress which do not resolve in an appropriate time.
They are considered significant when they interfere with a child's ability to function. There are risk factors to be aware of. Unusual stress, family changes or personal loss increase risk for depression.
Depression also tends to run strongly in families. In children, depression symptoms often mix with symptoms of inattention, learning disabilities or anxiety and create blends that are harder to diagnose or treat appropriately.
Depression in childhood should usually be treated with counseling for the child and family as well as by medication. The help of a knowledgeable pediatrician or pediatric psychiatrist should be sought. They can help answer questions, arrange appropriate therapy and evaluate the possibility of an accompanying physical or mental illness.