Symptoms of Child & Adolescent Depression

Depression as a medical term describες the long intense sorrow and melancholy and should not be confused with the normal negative emotional reactions.It affects people of all ages, but the way it manifests itself in children and adolescents is differentiated from the symptoms of adults.

Adult depression is usually manifested through the sense of withdrawal and catatonia and sometimes with anger, tension and irrational outbursts. This is the main, but not the only reason sometimes adults (parents, teachers) find it difficult to successfully recognize the symptoms of depression  of their child.

Some parents find it difficult to accept that their child suffers from depression, while others perceive their child's emotional disorders as a transition or a reaction to an event. Parental concerns might be reasonable, but it is important to raise awareness and inform parents on how to recognize depression.

Causes of Depression

Depression can be caused by a combination of many factors. Some of them is the dysfunction of brain chemicals (serotonin), genetic predisposition (family history of the disease) and environmental factors (eg, parental divorce, change of school environment, emotional deprivation, neglect, abuse, loss of a loved one, chronic disease, etc.) and is connected with the parallel existence of learning disabilities and behavioral disorders.

Depression in childhood can be  expressed by  unhappy emotions (sadness, despair, anxiety, guilt), lack of concentration, low school performance, irritable mood (suddenly intense tantrums) and presentation of physical symptoms (fatigue, lack of energy, headache and pains in the abdomen).

In puberty, depression can be expressed through boredom, apathy  interests and favorite extracurricular activities, social withdrawal, low self-esteem, changes in sleep (hypersomnia or insomnia) and diet (excessive or greatly reduced food consumption) and with suicidal tendencies. Especially the latter is very serious and requires immediate treatment. Parents should always pay attention to their child's comments on suicidal thoughts and should not be overlooked.

How to deal with Depression

If a parent suspects  a possibly that his/her child is suffering from depression, it is important to contact a specialist for an early diagnosis and treatment. By calling the 11525 Together for Children helpline  (daily 9: 00-21: 00), psychologists and social workers can support parents and  provide them with the appropriate councelling. Depression is treatable and children and teens can be helped.

If a parent is aware or suspect that possibly the child of having depressive feelings or behaviors, it is important to contact a specialist for early diagnosis and treatment. By calling the  11525 "Together for the Child"  Helpline (daily 9: 00-21: 00), psychologists and social workers can support parents and councel them appropriately. Depression is treatable and children and teens can be helped substantially when diagnozed in an early stage.