Depression in children is much more common than we think. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression is a serious medical condition. It is not feeling sad for a few days, but rather it is feeling “down”, “low” and/or “hopeless” for weeks at a time. Children can be sad without having depression. When the sadness becomes persistent or disruptive behavior occurs that interferes with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork, or family life, these may be indicators that a child is depressed.
Following are the signs of early onset depression
- Persistent hopelessness and sadness, withdrawal from friends and activities
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits,
- Missed school or poor school performance,
- Increased irritability, restlessness or agitation , anger and rage.
- Frequent physical complaints, such as headaches and stomach aches.
- Drug and/or alcohol abuse, problems with authority.
- Suicidal thoughts – a very important indicator.