It's a problem when one or both of you are emotionally checked out

Depression is something that parents should never take for granted. In fact, if a child is displaying symptoms of depression, it is important to schedule an appointment for child therapy right away. It is critical that a child or adolescent is provided with the support they need so that their depression does not escalate.

Signs that a child or adolescent may be depressed

We encourage parents and caregivers to learn about the signs of depression and call us if they observe one or several of the following:

1. Changes in weight

This can be a tricky symptom of depression for people to notice since it is normal for children to experience weight fluctuations as they age. Still, there is a difference between healthy weight gain and extreme weight gain. One of the ways that parents can monitor this is by checking the size of clothes a child is wearing.

If they are gaining weight to a degree that is causing parents to purchase new clothing more than twice a year, it could be a sign that their weight gain is unhealthy and a result of depression. On the other hand, there is no reason for a child who is at a healthy weight to lose weight. So, if they experience a decrease in appetite and begin to do so, it could be due to depression or a physical health problem.

2. Choosing to be isolated

If a child suddenly does not want to play with their friends, spend time with their family and do the normal social activities that they once enjoyed, it is a possible sign of depression. If the child is choosing extreme isolation, then he or she may even be suicidal. In this case, it is critical to seek help right away.

3. Regular mood swings

It is a popular misconception that adolescents and sometimes children will go through serious mood swings due to hormonal changes. This is actually not the case. While children may occasionally have a difficult time handling their emotions, consistent and regular mood swings are not normal and could be a sign of depression.

4. Changes in sleep patterns

If the child suddenly begins to sleep all the time it could be a coping mechanism to deal with stress or feelings of depression. Scheduling an appointment for child therapy can help us to determine what is causing these changes.

5. Making comments about not being around or dying

This is an indication that a child is suicidal, not just depressed. We urge parents to please contact us if their child ever makes these types of statements. Child therapy and regular treatment can help, but time is of the essence.

Child therapy can help children and adolescents who are depressed

The biggest mistake that parents can make is to assume that children cannot truly be depressed or that their depression will go away on its own. Depression and suicide are a serious public health concern that is impacting children as young as elementary school. It is never something that parents should ignore.

Instead, we urge parents who notice any of the above signs to contact us immediately and schedule an appointment for child therapy. Using empathy and understanding, we can help children to address their feelings and to reach a more peaceful and happier state of mind.

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