Depression in children is much rarer than in adults. As a proof, infant depression affects no more than 2% of children, but it accounts for about 20% of cases of child psychiatry consultations. Massify provides an update on this still unfamiliar disorder.
Infant Depression: A Floating Definition
It is indeed challenging to transpose the symptoms of depression in adults to those of childhood depression, as they may be different. Depression, silence, withdrawal, are well known in cases of depression of the adult; they can be transformed in a child into hyperactivity, irritability, and even aggressiveness. Since parents rarely equate behavioral disorders with depression, they tend to underestimate the condition of the child presenting them. They rather confuse them with a nervous, angry, or capricious character.
The range of manifestations of childhood depression is so varied that it has been referred to as “masked depression” or “depressive equivalent”, which points out to symptoms that may reflect depression in children, such as enuresis (Urinating unconsciously and involuntarily in his sleep), and eczema.
1. Your child’s scores are falling
Infant depression makes it difficult to concentrate, so your child may have difficulty listening to the teacher or doing homework. If your brilliant student suddenly starts to have lower grades than he usually gets, ask yourself what is going on. Many children complain of loss of attention and concentration. They were confused and have to do things again and again – they feel their minds are not working well.
2. If your child is always tired, it could be childhood depression
Teenagers sleep late, it is known, but an unusual change in their sleep pattern can signal depression. Some children will spend the afternoon sipping, and depressive often wakes up early without being able to fall asleep again. Their sleep is not restorative, meaning that no matter how much time spent sleeping, they still feel exhausted the next day. Fatigue is hampering their academic progression and social life. They are late, they miss things, or they do not do their homework because they sleep in the afternoon. All this has an impact on their lives.
How to detect a case of childhood depression?
Infant depression can manifest itself in very different and even opposite ways, depending on the case. Under these conditions, it is difficult to detect a depressive episode in children.
Physical and behavioral manifestations of childhood depression
There are, however, some attempts to diagnose infantile depression in child psychiatry. These diagnoses are often descriptive and list the possible manifestations of this disorder.
There is an enduring sadness, academic difficulties, isolation, anxiety and phobias, physical pain, inhibition, anger and aggression, moral pain, school phobia, or even in rare cases, trying to Suicide.
Other research adds sleep disorders, self-depreciation, changes in appetite and weight, among others.
Although academic difficulties are a recurring symptom of childhood depression, infant depression can also result in over-investment in school to overcome suffering. At the same time, a child “too wise” can also hide a certain malaise. There are also cases where the child shows signs of hyperactivity, irritability.
Verbal manifestations of childhood depression
The words of the child must also be considered carefully by the parents, as they may show a depressive state. Expressions such as “I do not care”, or “I do not want anything” can mean, such as a loss of interest and pleasure. The loss of self-esteem is seen behind “I Am Null” or “I Can not Do It.” “I’m naughty” can betray a sense of guilt. However, to avoid misinterpretations, it is essential to put these sentences in context and to take account of their frequency. In other words, and view of the multiplicity of manifestations of childhood depression, caution exercised in interpreting isolated signs. The most often revealing indicator of a more serious problem in children remains a sudden and lasting change in their behavior, to such an extent that parents may feel that they no longer recognize it.
Infant Depression: He is never invited, and it does not matter
People with depression tend to isolate themselves. Teenagers are particularly good at noticing that a friend closes himself, and they will stop inviting him. Peers do not always hold hands, and the person who feels terrible may not seek to experience pleasurable experiences. If they do, they will not necessarily enjoy it, No one finds them amusing, and they end up excluding themselves socially.
Infant Depression: All conversations are tense
The emotions of children can resemble the existential anxieties of a young teenager, which could make depression among them challenging to recognize. The catch is that many children, including teenagers, do not look sad or depressed, but are irritable. Typically, the teen has mood swings – he will be grumpy right after school but will feel better at supper. But if your child speaks to you about the situation, see if there are no other symptoms of depression. On the other hand, if your child has mood swings of concern, this is a silent sign indicating bipolar disorder.
Infant Depression: Your child cries more than usual
Crying is a perfectly healthy way to express one’s emotions. But if a generally stoic child starts to sob often, analyze the situations that trigger his tears. If your instinct tells you that something is wrong, do not put this on account of teen hormones. For example, does he shut himself up or do not want to do activities that interested him before? If something is wrong, start with the pediatrician.