Why does my child seem so depressed

It can be hard to tell if your child has depression. A child’s mood can switch in a snap from being happy to being upset. There are two different kinds of depression: major depression and dysthymia. Major depression lasts only a couple of weeks and can happen more than once during your kid’s life; this depression is most common after a traumatic event like a death. Dysthymia is less severe but can last a lot longer than major depression – up to two years.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that children of parents who suffer from depression are more likely of being depressed. There is no demographic; it affects all ages and genders. But girls are more likely to develop depression during adolescence. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, only about two to three percent of kids between the ages of 6 and 12 had severe depression. While the numbers may seem low, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your youngster for symptoms.

What are some of the symptoms you ask? Take a look at our list below.

1: Lack of motivation

Does your child seem lazy? If so, their energy level probably seems low. They probably seem tired and sluggish. This is a typical behaviour according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children often don’t realize what’s happening and label it as feeling “lazy,” they’ll probably tell you that’s how they’re feeling.

2: Undersleeping or not sleeping

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine children between the ages of 6 to 12 should get 9 to 12 hours of sleep every day. A red flag here would be if your child could once sleep all of the time, but is often left lying awake in bed now. The same goes for the reverse; if they’re sleeping and feel restless when they wake up that’s not a good sign at all.

3: They can’t focus

It’s not uncommon for a child to have a short attention span and move on from one thing to another, but if they lose interest in something they once loved it’s time to pay attention to them. Another thing to watch out for is if they are unable to gain focus repeatedly.

4: A change in appetite

Just as adults do when they’re depressed,  one of the most common symptoms of depression in adolescents is a change in their appetite. It can go either way, not wanting to eat or overeating.

5: Avoiding social situations

One way that a child may try to cope with their feelings of sadness is to withdraw socially. This can mean not wanting to be around friends, family, and participating in activities that once got them excited.

6: They’re always apologizing

Being depressed can make their self-esteem drop to levels that you’ve never seen before. If they’re constantly saying sorry when it’s not needed, or they’re carrying feelings of guilt long after a mistake has been made, these can be warning signs that their self-esteem is suffering.

7: They’re cranky

Has your once happy go lucky child turned into an irritable and moody one? This can be a sign that something is off.

Why it’s important to seek help

If you think that your child is suffering from depression, it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored. Children who suffer from depression are at a higher risk of developing other mental-health issues. In addition to that, your child will more than likely have poor school grades while being unhappy and sad.

How to seek treatment

First of all, try talking to them about their feelings and what’s going on in their life. There’s a chance you could discover that they’re being bullied or could confirm some of the red flags listed above. After that, book an appointment with your child’s doctor. The doctor may recommend counseling or medicine to help your child.