5 Ways To Identify Depression In Your Pre-Teen

One of the first questions many parents have when they find out that their child has been diagnosed with depression is, "Can children actually suffer from depression?" The truth is that they can. Pre-teens are especially prone to depression, and it can be easy to identify if you know to look for the signs.

1. Long-Lasting Sadness or "Blues"

Unlike typical sadness, childhood depression lasts for days on end. This sadness is both persistent and disruptive for normal daily activities. You might also see your child's interests wane and schoolwork falter. This symptom may manifest differently in each child. Instead of sadness, some children may experience anger, irritability or a sense of hopelessness.

2. Social Withdrawal

It is typical of many pre-teens to withdraw from their parents slightly, but you should take warning if you notice that your child is also drawing away from friends and other family members. Social isolation is a common sign associated with depression. This could actually be the result of an increased fear of rejection. Some pre-teens also find it more difficult to cope with events and activities. As much as they want to have fun and be involved, it may seem impossible to function socially.

3. Change in Sleep Patterns

There is nothing unique about shifting sleep patterns; however, it is not likely that sudden insomnia or constant oversleeping are caused by nothing. Depression is commonly associated with a drastic change in sleeping patterns.

4. Random Crying Outbursts

All too many times, parents believe that pre-teen outbursts are insignificant. The truth is that these crying jags could mean that your child is trying to tell you something. It is wise to follow up with these outbursts, ensuring that your child is not hiding something. In many cases, your pre-teen might not even know why he or she is crying.

5. Feelings of Hopelessness

If you notice that your pre-teen who was once bubbly and chipper is suddenly dreading the future, don't take immediate concern. This is common, but typically fleeting, in youngsters. Take note that something could be wrong if this feeling seems to persist. Pre-teens should show some excitement about spending time with friends, family vacations, school trips and so on.

Depression is a serious concern for many parents around the globe. In spite of the severity of depression, this is a very treatable condition if you see the proper help. A psychiatrist or child psychologist (such as Bowden & Associates) may be of great assistance to you and your pre-teen.