1. Being Sad

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Children can become sad about many things such as school work, missing out on something, a house move or loss of a pet.  These are all examples and of course there are many other reasons for your child to be sad.  This is part of growing up but if the sadness  doesn’t go after 3 weeks or so, it could be depression.

2. Withdrawal From Friends And Family

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Most children will change their friendship groups at some point and spend varying amounts of time with their parents.  As children enter puberty, they naturally pull away from their families. However, when social withdrawal is associated with depression, the child feels as if no one understands them and they can become isolated.

3. Feeling Misunderstood

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A depressed child can feel that there isn’t anybody to understand their feelings and they feel it’s pointless to discuss them. The child may fear trying out new things, speaking out or sharing ideas out of fear of rejection or ridicule.

4. Academic Decline

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Many children have academic highs and lows over the years. During times of transition to high school, course work can become more challenging.  If your child is a high achiever and their work slumps for no apparent reason, they could be suffering from depression.

5. Losing Interest In Activities

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Your child may naturally lose interest in stuff they loved at some stage, such as a favorite toy or tv show.  When they suddenly declare they aren’t interested in those things any more but don’t replace them, this could be a sign of depression, no matter the age of your child.

6. Lack Of Energy

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Everyone gets tired after busy days, hard work, late nights or illnesses but a depressed child may appear to always lack energy and motivation.  Even after a suitable level of sleep for their age, they may complain of being tired, move around sluggishly and take ages to complete a task.

7. Feelings Of Worthlessness

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Children with depressive disorders could feel worthless for long periods of time, especially after a negative event.  These kids who experience feelings of worthlessness tend to think they are weak, inadequate or flawed in some way.  They don’t want to connect with others for fear of failing.

8. Sense Of Guilt

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Feelings of excessive guilt is very common in children with depressive disorders, such as major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.  A depressed child with depression may blame themselves for something that goes wrong, even if it’s out of their control.

9. Impulsivity And Aggression

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For some depressed children and teens, their emotions can cause them to feel angry toward the people or things they believe are the sources of their pain. This can then lead to impulsive and aggressive reactions such as hitting out and damaging property.

10. Changes In Weight And Eating Habits

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The American Journal Of Epidemiology found that girls who were overweight or obese were almost twice as likely to have depression as girls with a healthy body weight. If your child is tormented about their weight, it could be a sign of depression.

11. Changes in Sleep Patterns and Activity

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Teens who have depression will often show changes in their sleep patterns. Some may suddenly exhibit insomnia and have trouble sleeping and others might sleep much more than usual.  Nervous pacing and chewing nails could also be signs that all is not well.

12. Physical Pain

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Frequent headaches, stomach aches  and pain elsewhere in the body could be a sign of depression in teenagers.  Another sign is suddenly complaining of being very fatigued and not having any energy to take part in activities they usually enjoy.  Spells of crying could accompany these signs.

13. Self Harming

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The reasons children and teenagers self-harm are often complicated and will be different for every young person. Sometimes a child or teen may not know the reasons they are self-harming.  The physical pain of hurting themselves can be a distraction from the emotional pain they’re struggling with.

14. Being Bullied

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The effects of bullying can be both physical and emotional and they can last for many years. For example, bullying can result in ongoing issues, such as depression that can have ramifications through adolescent years and up to and including adulthood.

15. Feeling Suicidal

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You may notice signs of this pre-occupation in your kid’s clothing, the shows they watch on tv, websites they visit on their electronic devices or  the way they identify with others who are also depressed and may have spoken about suicide.

16. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

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This is also called major depression. MDD is diagnosed when a child experiences intense and severe depression that doesn’t disappear after a  couple of weeks.  Getting the actual diagnosis is a big step so a medical professional can prescribe the correct medication.

17. Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

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Also called dysthymia, a child with PDD experiences mild symptoms of depression but the problem is that these symptoms last for a longer time, more than a year in children.  Parents may not be aware of the diagnosis as they get used to their child behaving in a certain way and think it may be their age and hormones.

18. Adjustment Disorder With Depressed Mood

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This diagnosis describes depressed mood that develops within three months following an upsetting or stressful event such as a parental separation or death in the family.  Some adjustment difficulties are normal and expected in children but this diagnosis is given when the difficulties go way out of proportion and affect the child’s daily life.

19.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

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SAD is a form of MDD with a seasonal pattern. Children who have this form of depression experience symptoms when the hours of daylight are shorter, so in the winter months.  It’s not just a case of wishing the sun was out.  These individuals feel they can’t function or think properly if there’s a lack of sunlight.

20. Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar disorder describes episodic periods of mania, euphoric or irritable mood together with an increase in goal-directed behaviors which are present for most of the day.  These alternate with episodic periods of depression.  Whilst Bipolar disorder is rare in children, it is more prevalent in teenagers, as well as adults.

21 Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

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DMDD is diagnosed when a child over the age 6 displays a lasting and intense pattern of aggression, anger and severe tantrums, as well as frequent outbursts.  The child’s mood is persistently irritable or angry almost every day and will have been this way for more than one year.

22. Wants To Run Away From Home

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Most kids want to run away from home from time to time, after a family argument or because they can’t get their own way.  They almost always return within minutes when they reach the end of the road!  A teen who is depressed may really mean it though in an effort to escape from reality and to be on their own.

23.  Extreme Sensitivity To Rejection Or Failure

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No child likes to lose, whether it’s a game of football, a computer game, board game or running race.  They get over the disappointment quickly unless they are suffering with depression, when they become extremely sensitive to failure and it manifests into a huge issue.

24.  Regressing Back To A Younger Age

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Children who are depressed sometimes show up with symptoms which are common in childhood, such as bed wetting or not being able to control when they pee. This can be because they are hiding their feelings from their parents and the stress of it takes its toll.

25. Not Playing Outside With Friends

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When playing, children allow themselves to be put into both physical and socially challenging situations and they learn to control their emotions over time.  A depressed child can’t handle the thought of things happening out of their control so they choose to stay away from friends and can become loners.

26. Parents Separating

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A marriage separation often involves bad feelings between the parents and their families.  Children can easily pick up on this and it may make them confused and unhappy.  It’s not uncommon for them to blame themselves and this can lead to them becoming depressed.

27. Turning To Drugs And/Or Alcohol

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When teens are struggling with emotional problems such as depression, they might turn to drink and drugs as a means of self medicating.  They hope this will block out the negative feelings they are experiencing.  Alcohol is more frequently used as it is thought to be more socially acceptable.

28. Bereavement

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After the bereavement of a loved one, if a child or teen finds it difficult to speak about their feelings, this could lead to depression.  Their emotions may be intense and they could feel angry and sad at the loss but keep it to themselves.

29. Anxiety Attacks

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Anxiety attacks can be described as repeated episodes of unexpected, sudden and intense fear that come with symptoms of heart pounding and difficulty breathing, sweating and feeling dizzy. Teens can experience these attacks and the thought they can happen at any time, without warning, can culminate in depression.

30. Out Of Character Messy Bedroom

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Teens who have suddenly developed messy bedrooms, particularly if the messiness is extreme, may be struggling with a mental health disorder.  They may be suffering from depression, anxiety or ADHD, or a combination.  It is very important to get a professional diagnosis in order to move forward to a healthier lifestyle.