How to Recognize Depression and Anxiety in Children

anxiety kidAs a parent, you might not know it, but your child might be suffering from depression or anxiety. This problem is widely becoming more and more recognized, but because children are less inclined to articulate their feelings, many parents, teachers and family members might not even notice. Studies have shown that children as young as 4 and 5 have been known to experience acute signs of depression and anxiety. Moreover, a child that is depressed is usually anxious too, and vice versa. Child psychologists say that it is extremely important to get help for your son or daughter right away. As a parent you never want to tell yourself that it is just a passing phase. Here are some ways you can recognize depression and anxiety in children.

You might notice that your child is crying or throwing more tantrums than usual. If your child is showing signs that he or she is crying more often than not, it might be a signal that you child is depressed or anxious. It can be that they are crying in school, with friends or at home. If you don’t notice it at home, it might be wise to ask your child’s teachers to see if they are crying more at school.

Another sign is if your child is showing a decreased interest in the things that he or she once loved, like video games, a certain kind of food, or sports. Doctors also say that they might switch between interests radically and then lose interest completely. This can include a total disinterest or a complete lack of enjoyment.

If your child is exhibiting signs that they feel overly guilty or if they have low self-esteem, it might be time to look into child therapy, because this is a big sign of depression and anxiety. If they are suddenly saying they aren’t good enough or that other students and friends are better than them, they are feeling a loss of confidence and showing signs of low self-esteem.

Anxiety and depression can also have physical side effects too, like stomachaches and headaches. If your child is feeling sick with flu like symptoms, but they don’t have a fever and doctors can’t make a diagnosis, it might be chronic depression and anxiety causing real physical pain.

Lastly, if your son or daughter is showing signs of not being able to get along with other classmates, friends, teachers and parents, it could be that they are depressed or anxious. You don’t want to jump to conclusions if it is a one time only occurrence, but if it is happening over and over again, it might be time to seek professional help for your child. If the problem persists, their symptoms will only get worse and can lead to complete withdrawal and even suicide attempts. Children as young as 12 and 13 have been known to commit suicide, which can be devastating for parents and other people in their lives. If you see any of these signs, or more, it is recommended that you get help for your child immediately.

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  1. Katy Hedrick says

    What a great post, not usually something people discuss but great to read. Kids can really be in some hurtful, harmful situations that we as adults know how to process but they can’t deal with yet. As a Counselor for adult therapy groups, we talk about this as some people worry their kids see them and become depressed as well. We do a lot with Richard Quis’ book Thinking Anew, a workbook for writing as a crisis management tool. We do teach them to do it with their kids, and that helps them to get on the same page with each other once they can see it all down on paper! is the booksite, worth a look! Again, great post!

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