Depression in Children

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It may start as a sudden change in mood and functioning or be present over a long period of time as sadness and irritability. Family environment is seen to play a major role in precipitating the problem. The symptoms vary depending on the age-group.

  • Pre-school children: May present with lack of smiling, loss of interest in play and lack of involvement in all activities. The child may become irritable or cry easily and their activities may become destructive towards self, others and property.  
  • School aged children: The child’s school performance deteriorates, he misses or refuses to go to school and avoids friends. The child may become irritable, argumentative and quarrelsome.
  • Adolescents: They have a tendency to miss school and find excuses for not being able to finish the assignments. They may indulge in alcohol and drug abuse, anti-social behavior (like stealing, fighting, rash driving, destruction of property). Physical complaints like headaches, stomach-aches, change in appetite and sleep patterns are common. Interpersonal loss (e.g. death of a friend) and discord with family, friends or partners significantly increases the risk of depression in this age group.