The holiday blues are a common phenomenon that affects many people after the holiday festivities are over. But it can be difficult to know if your child is feeling down because of the holidays or if there is something more permanent going on.

This article will discuss five signs that your child may be dealing with depression. If any of these symptoms seem familiar, please talk with your doctor or mental health professional about what you should do next.

 

1. Your child has been sad or irritable for more than two weeks

 

Your child might be depressed if they have been sad or irritable for more than two weeks. Persistence longer than 2 weeks, more days than not, of symptoms such as irritable or angry mood, low energy and lack of interest, sadness and irritability can all be signs of depression in children.

If your child has any of these signs that have lasted for at least two weeks, it could be a serious sign that something more is going on.

 

2. You notice a change in appetite or weight gain

 

Depression can lead to changes in appetite including weight loss and weight gain. Some children might start eating more than they normally do when depressed and that could mean a sudden weight gain like ten pounds over the course of just a few months.

On the other end of the spectrum, your child who used to be picky about food might become even more selective about what they eat, leading to a dramatic drop in body weight.

 

3. Your child has difficulty getting out of bed and going to school (within reason)

 

When the holidays are over and your child has gotten back into a more normal routine of going to school, it can be very difficult for them.

If they have been out sick from school a lot more recently, complain of aches and pains in the morning to delay the start or if they just struggle to try getting up in time (with adequate sleep), this could be cause for pause that something more might be going on. Increased desire to sleep or escape can be a symptom of depression.

 

4. Your child’s concentration and focus is off

 

When children are depressed, they might have a hard time focusing in class and finishing their homework.

If your child used to excel at reading comprehension or math but now they are having a hard time understanding the questions and getting through their work, show declining grades or behavioral issues in the classroom, this could be a warning sign that something bigger is going on.

 

5. Your child shows a loss of interest in playing with friends or participating in activities that used to be their favorite

 

When kids are depressed, they will often lose interest in activities that used to bring them joy. For example, if your child loves playing sports but has lost the passion for it and doesn’t want to play anymore, this could be a sign of depression.

If your child has started to opt for napping instead of playing with her best friend this also could be a sign of possible depression.

It is important to remember that every child has their ups and downs, so if they are having a bad day or have lost interest in an activity once it’s not necessarily something to worry about. However if the symptom or symptoms become more frequent and persistent there could be some deeper issues at play.

 

Depression is a serious issue that can be difficult to detect in children. It is especially hard to detect during the holiday season when there are a million different things going on.

If you think your child might have symptoms of depression or you want help understanding their big emotions, don’t wait! Schedule an appointment today and get them the help they need as soon as possible.

— Susan Stutzman, LCPC, RPT

 

 

Susan Stutzman

Susan Stutzman

Owner | Child Therapist | LCPC, RPT

Parenting is hard! But you don’t have to do it alone. I work with children and parents to resolve emotional conflict, cultivate healing, and nurture hope.

We help anxious kids and frustrated parents. We serve Hinsdale & the Western Suburbs of Chicago.

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