Can children experience depression?

Lots of people think depression only affects adults. But children and teenagers can become depressed as well.

Anxiety is a normal part of childhood, and every child goes through phases. A phase is temporary and usually harmless. But children who suffer from anxiety or depression experience fear, nervousness, and shyness, and they start to avoid places and activities. Anxiety disorders often co-occur with depression as well as eating disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and others.

Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.

The problem for parents is that anxiety and depression in children can be difficult to spot. However, there are ways to tell the difference between normal ups and downs and the beginnings of a more serious issue.

Children with anxiety and depression may display these symptoms:

  • Depressed or irritable mood
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Change in grades, getting into trouble at school, or refusing to go to school
  • Change in eating habits
  • Feeling angry or irritable
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling worthless or restless
  • Frequent sadness or crying
  • Withdrawing from friends and activities
  • Loss of energy
  • Low self-esteem
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Anxiety and depression are treatable, but 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder and 60 percent of kids with diagnosable depression are not getting treatment, according to the 2015 Child Mind Institute Children’s Mental Health Report.

There is hope. And you’ll find it right here at GRMC.

The Teddy Buerger Center (TBC) at GRMC provides outpatient counseling services and therapy for depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, grief, abuse, trauma and stress. All services are confidential.

If you have any concerns about your child, please call us at 830.401.7367.