Have you ever wondered or are you thinking now, ‘Is my child depressed?’
Most young people will experience low moods and feel sad or upset at times. This is an inevitable part of growing up and characterises many adolescents as they pass through the journey of puberty. Most young people will still cope with day to day life during these periods and will not necessitate any specialist treatment or input from mental health support services.
Despite how it looks and feels, this is not depression.
Some young people have more serious conditions, resulting in clinical youth depression.
For this diagnosis, the depression will last for a minimum of 2 weeks and will affect the majority of a young person’s basic coping and functioning mechanisms.
The National Institute for Health & Care Excellence defines depression as,
“…a loss of interest and enjoyment in ordinary things and experiences..low mood and a range of associated emotional, cognitive, physical and behavioural symptoms”
What signs may show if my child is depressed?
Depression can affect young people in different ways, but it can affect many aspects of a young person’s life. Depressed young people will often feel negatively about themselves, their surroundings, their friends and family and about their future. Your child may be depressed if emotions range from sadness, anger to a feeling of complete hopelessness or emptiness. Young people may be extremely self-critical, pessimistic, anxious and confused and may not accept that others see them positively. In addition, it is common for depressed young people to be highly emotional, to lack the desire to be sociable or lack motivation. Some young people will go further and display unusually high- risk taking behaviours, such as self-harming or misusing alcohol or drugs.
There is a clear link between youth depression and physical effects, with depressed young people often feeling tired, lethargic, experiencing changes in appetite or in their menstrual cycle as well as aches and pains.
These can all be indications that your child is depressed.