Yes. Children can suffer from depression. Although it frequently does not look like the kind of depression that adults face, depression in children can have serious consequences if not treated.
Of course, everybody has bad days and can become sad. However, mental conditions or disorders may be present when these negative moments become too frequent or extreme. Here is how other parents sometimes describe signs of depression:
"He cries easily about things."
"She just blows up over the littlest things."
"He doesn't seem to like himself."
"She seems bored all the time and doesn't like to play with things anymore."
"He wishes he had not been born sometimes."
Frequent sadness or "meltdowns" can be a sign of depression in a child. Mood regulation problems are the usual sign of some type of depression. In addition to tearfulness, parents should be aware the irritablity can also be a sign of a depression. Self-criticism or signs of a "low self-esteem" may be important signs of a problem.
Anohter sign of a mood problem that can go unrecognized is "boredom." Some kids may describe their loss of joy or pleasure in things as "being bored" all the time. Other signs of depression may include problems with sleep and loss or excessive increase in appetite, and intense anger or range can be a sign of a mood regulation problem.
Problems with frequent tears or outburts of anger can seem like a child's mood thermostat is set too low. Small things can trigger anger frequently and once it goes over a certain poiint, it seems like the child just explodes.
Think again about a thermostat and air conditioner. Many factors decide if an air conditioner will start to blow. Is it 100 degrees outside? How people are there in the house? Are all the doors and windows open? What sort of insulation is in the walls?
Mood regulation can be thought of in the same way. Many factors go into if a child can tolerate certain stresses or not. How's school going? What's going on in the family? What sort of coping skills does a child have?
Learning new coping skills and distraction techniques can be important ways to keep stressors from piling higher. If a mood regulation problem like depression is present than medication can help restore the balance in mood regulation.
Some things to consider:
Depression in a child needs an immediate medical evaluation.
Early help is necessary because depression can interfere with a child's development.
Mood problems at a young age may become more frequent and serious as a child gets older.
Suicide or self-harm is a possible result of depression in children.
Discussing if your child might be having thoughts of self-harm or suicide will not make a child more likely to do it. Finding out how they feel is crucial and will give you a chance to look for help before it's too late.
Do not dismiss comments about suicide or wanting to be dead as "just wanting attention." Get some attention by making sure that your child is seen by a professional right away.