Although depression may impact people of any age, it can be confusing since it often looks different in children, teenagers, and adults. Because teens are prone to moodiness, it can be tough to determine if they are struggling with depression. So, knowing how depression presents differently for children and teenagers can better equip you to help if they need it.
Depression in Children
According to David Friedlander, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, seek behavior change in young kids when spotting depression. In addition, depression presents differently for children and teenagers, which includes the following:
- Withdrawing from activities they used to enjoy, asking to skip classes repeatedly, or telling their parents not to sign them up for activities anymore.
- Children frequently say, “I don’t want to” or “I can’t,” mainly if they used to enjoy engaging in activities.
- Sudden and frequent somatic complaints that were previously not there.
- A child is unusually irritable for no reason, even without sadness.
- There’s also a mood disorder known as disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, which presents as irritability combined with extreme tantrums.
Depression in Teenagers
Teens are notoriously moody, so their mood swings are not often a cause for concern. But if your teenager is more irritable than usual, it may indicate depression. Social isolation and withdrawal attempts may be more than staying in their room. While it’s not typical for teens to have problems with friends, you may want to ask if they say, “I’m not friends with so-and-so anymore.” School performance is another behavior change to look for.
The most serious thing to seek in your teenager is self-harm. The most common form is cutting because it makes them stop thinking about whatever upsets them. Also, if you hear your child talking about hurting themselves, it’s vital to have an open and honest conversation. In addition, substance abuse might also be a symptom of depression in teenagers. What is your teen trying to accomplish by smoking, drinking, or getting high? If doing those activities is the only way to have fun, it may indicate they are depressed.
How Parents May Assist with Treatment
Even though depression presents differently for children and teenagers, it is treatable. The most prevalent, evidence-based treatment for depression is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which teaches kids to notice and overcome negative thought patterns. Medications are also used, sometimes in combination with treatment.
Most importantly, parents need to be more involved when treating younger children. Parents of a nine-year-old will need assistance scheduling activities. In contrast, parent’s involvement in their teen’s depression treatment varies. Some teens prefer privacy over involving their parents.
If you believe your child or teen has depression, they may qualify for a clinical study at Pharmasite Research. They will receive free study-related care and exams, and compensation will be provided for their time and travel. Call us at 410-602-1440 to learn more information.
Enroll Today with Pharmasite Research
If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, it can be a huge hindrance to daily life, but there is always hope and help available. Seek professional help from a therapist who may recommend effective treatment options for you or a loved one. Pharmasite Research in Pikesville, MD, is enrolling individuals with depression for a clinical study. Learn more to see if you qualify! Contact us at 410-602-1440 and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!