Is My Child Depressed?

Robin William’s death is a reminder to us all of how serious depression can be. Early detection and treatment is key to combat its devastating effects. For parents it is especially important to be aware of signs of depression. Until recently it was thought that young kids were immune to becoming depressed, however we now know that this is a myth and kids as young as 3 or 4 can exhibit signs of depression. Younger children may have some similar symptoms as adults, yet they may display their depression in a very different manner and it is critical for parents to know the signs.

Physical symptoms

Children may complain of stomachaches or headaches on a regular basis. They are also more apt to be tired and fatigue easier than their peers. Some parents may have even thought of their child as lazy. It is important to rule out any medical problems first that may present with these symptoms such as anemia.

Preoccupation with death

These children tend to be hyper aware of issues related to death and dying and may ask many questions about death. As one of the parents I worked with said “it is hard to get through a story at bedtime with out my daughter asking about whether the characters are dead or alive.”

Prone to accidents

Our child may appear to be clumsy or have many browses as a result of falls.

Negative towards self

Aside from having a general negative outlook. The child may use negative self talk such as “I am stupid” or I hate myself.”

Sleep problems

You may notice your child having difficulty sleeping and a great deal of anxiety around nighttime and the dark.

Depression is a chronic illness and does not go away on it’s own A professional can help your child with a variety of treatments to address these issues. They can also assist the parents in becoming aware of the under lying causes and receive support.

 If you have questions about depression, signs and symptoms in particular, contact me, Fatemeh Farahan-Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist, for an assessment. Call my Los Angeles Psychotherapy office at (310) 535- 1398.