1. Health

Video:Symptoms of Depression in Children

with Dr. Mike Abrams

Depression in children can manifest in a number of recognizable ways. This video from About.com will go over the most common symptoms of depression in children.See Transcript

  • All Videos
  • All Health Videos
  • Depression Videos

Transcript:Symptoms of Depression in Children

Hi, I'm Dr. Mike Abrams, a clinical psychologist in New York and New Jersey and a psychology professor at New York University. I'm here for About.com to help you identify the signs of depression in children.

Although there is variation depending on the studies, a commonly cited statistic is about 2% of pre-pubescent children and up to about 8% of adolescents meet the criteria for depression. The symptoms of depression can vary in both age and gender.

Depression Can Lead to Different Behavior

However, irrespective of age or sex, depression is always accompanied by changes in behavior or personality style. For example, if an outgoing child suddenly becomes withdrawn, or a passive child becomes combative, or a confident child suddenly acts shy, the child may be depressed.

Signs of Depression in Boys and Girls

A leading sign of depression in adolescent or teenaged boys is hostility or anger. In contrast, girls may display depression with changes that are more obvious. These include ready tears, evident sadness, and explicitly stating that they are depressed. Many children may appear emotionally normal but begin to complain of a wide range of physical symptoms. In addition, the child may appear lethargic, or complain of fatigue. If these symptoms are combined with either a marked reduction or increase in sleep time, depression is a possible cause.

Depression in Pre-Adolescent Kids

In pre-adolescent kids, the signs include increased or decreased appetite, a sudden loss of interest in social activity or increases in self-deprecating statements. Since a depressed child will often begin to feel worthless or inadequate, he or she will tend to make comments about how worthless or hopeless they are – in extreme cases the child may even question the point of living at all. Such statements must be taken seriously and professional help must be enlisted as soon as possible.

Helping Depressed Children

A depressed child is one who is suffering a great deal and who can feel worthless and alone even in the midst of a loving family. It is best to offer patient support, while avoiding exhortations to "snap out of it" or "cheer up."  Remember, if the child could make him or herself happy he or she would.  Be patient and when in doubt, get the child help.

That was a little information about depression in children. To learn more, please visit About.com. Thanks for watching. 

About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.