Childhood depression is distinct from the “blues” and other common sentiments that children experience as they grow up. Just because a child appears unhappy doesn’t indicate they’re suffering from depression. However, if the sorrow persists or interferes with typical social activities, interests, academics, or family life, it could indicate that they are suffering from a depressive disorder. Remember! while depression is a serious condition, it is also one that can be treated.

Anxiety and Depression in children

Every child’s existence includes times when they are unhappy or hopeless. Some youngsters, on the other hand, are depressed or uninterested in activities they used to enjoy, or they feel helpless or gloomy in situations they can change. Depression can be diagnosed in children when they experience recurrent sorrow and hopelessness.

Your child is depressed when

  • Sorrow and hopelessness are constant companions
  • Withdrawal happens from social situations
  • The child becomes more receptive to criticism
  • Appetite fluctuates, either increases or diminishes
  • Sleep disturbances occur
  • They cries
  • The child has concentration issues
  • The child feels lethargic and fatigue
  • Physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment (like stomach pains and migraines) become regular
  • There are issues at home or with acquaintances, at school, during extracurricular activities, and with other interests or activities
  • The child has feelings of inadequacy or guilt
  • Intellect or concentration problems arise
  • The child gets suicide or death thoughts

Some youngsters may not express or seem to be just sad, despite their helpless and bleak emotions. Furthermore, depression can also lead to a child causing mischief or being apathetic, allowing others to miss the fact that the child is depressed or erroneously label the child as a troublemaker or a slacker.


An anxiety disorder may be identified when a child does not develop the concerns and anxieties that are common in early childhood, or when there are so many fears and troubles that they interfere with education, home, or playtime.

Your child may have an anxiety disorder when –

  • When the child is away from his or her parents and they’re really terrified i.e., separation anxiety
  • A strong aversion to something or a circumstance, such as animals, insects, or going to the doctor i.e., phobias exist.
  • A child is terrified of going to school and other locations where others are present i.e., social anxiety.
  • A child is exceedingly concerned about the future and the possibility of horrible things occurring i.e., general anxiety.
  • The child has recurring experiences of abrupt, unexpected, extreme terror accompanied by symptoms such as heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, or dizziness, shakiness, or sweating i.e., panic disorder.

Anxiety can manifest itself in the form of stress or worry, but it can also make children impatient and furious. However, anxiety symptoms might also include difficulty sleeping and bodily symptoms such as exhaustion, headaches, and stomach cramps. Because some anxious youngsters keep their anxieties to themselves, the symptoms may go unnoticed.

Causes of depression

Depression in children, like depression in adults, can be triggered by a mixture of factors including physical wellbeing, life situations, family history, environment, genetic predisposition, and biochemical disruption. Depression is not a fleeting mood or an illness that will go away if not treated properly.


To get the best diagnosis and management, it’s crucial to get a thorough examination. A consultation with a pediatric neurologist can assist in determining whether medication should be included in the treatment plan. A mental health expert can create a treatment plan that is tailored to the child’s needs and to the child’s family concerns. Child treatment, family therapy, or a mix of the two are all examples of behavioral therapy. The therapy plan can also incorporate the school. Involving parents in the treatment of very young children is critical.

One type of treatment that is used to address depression or anxiety in older children is cognitive-behavioral therapy. It assists the child in transforming negative thinking into more strong and beneficial ways of thinking, which leads to more effective behavior.


Bottom Line

Depression is more likely among children who have a family history of depression. Children with depressed parents are more likely to experience their first bout of depression than children without depressed parents. Additionally, children and teens from unstable or troubled households, as well as children and teenagers who misuse substances such as alcohol and drugs, are more likely to develop depression. Nutritional deficiency disorders such as deficiency of vitamin B12 and vitamin D are also associated with depression.

Anxiety and depression in children: Never allow your child to put up with strange feelings, thoughts, or other depressive or anxiety symptoms. Check with your clinician If these symptoms or changes remain more than a week or so.  Early diagnosis and treatment is the most efficient strategy to manage the condition and get long-term solutions. It may take some time to find the correct treatment for your child. The majority of drugs take two weeks or longer to work. Similarly, your child may need to test a few different drugs to find the one that works best for him. Your doctor will collaborate with you to choose the best course of action.