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Depression in Children & Adolescents

Childhood and Teenage Depression – What can be done to help them?

Childhood and teenage depression is 11 times more likely when there is evidence of a family history of depression. What can be confusing is that children and teenagers that are experiencing depression will display symptoms that are different from typical adult depression symptoms. It’s also difficult to pinpoint depression in these age groups because normal behaviors vary from one childhood stage to the next.

Children and Teenage Depression Checklist:

In children and adolescents, warning signs to be on the lookout for include:

  • Complaints of feeling sick
  • Refusal to go to school
  • Clinging to a parent or caregiver
  • Excessive worry that a parent may die
  • Getting into trouble at school
  • Negative or grouchiness
  • Feeling misunderstood

In addition, look for symptoms that may be present in those suffering from depression at any age:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities they used to enjoy
  • Decreased energy
  • Sleep disturbances (falling asleep, staying asleep or too much sleep)
  • Eating disturbances (loss of appetite and weight, or weight gain)
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Thoughts of Suicide or suicide attempts
  • Chronic aches and pains that don’t respond to treatment

Depression has a higher chance of being present if a younger person also experiences other disorders such as anxiety, disruptive behavior, eating disorders or substance abuse.

If a child presents five or more of these symptoms of depression, for two weeks or longer without physical cause, contact Fairmount Behavioral Health System at 215-487-4100. Fairmount provides free assessments 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A psychiatrist is on site at all times.

Read more from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describing how depression affects high school students, as well as what the future holds for research on this important topic.

Here to Assist You 24/7

If a psychiatric disorder or chemical dependency affects you or a loved one, please call 215-487-4100. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to perform no-cost assessments and answer questions on programs and admissions.