Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Five signs your child might be depressed

Published:Sunday | April 29, 2018 | 12:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence

Children do have their fair share of ups and downs. Feeling compelled to live up to the likes not only of their peers, but on social media, it can be a minefield of emotions for them. It is not all the time that children go to their parents, so it's up to the parents to look at the changes in their child to see whether or not they might be depressed.

Here are five signs that we saw on www.webmd.com that might suggest your child is suffering from depression. You are not limited to these signs, and neither should you diagnose them; be alert and if you see these signs, talk to them or get them help to ensure that there is no underlying issue and to ensure that they are well:

1 Irritability of anger: A parent knows their child and if you see them move from an even-tempered child to one who is easily angered, see what might be the problem. Even with an average moody child, you can tell the changes.

2 Social withdrawal: There is a difference between being an introvert and social withdrawal. Again, pay attention and note if there is a drastic change in this department. It might start subtly at first, but do not ignore the fact that your child moves from having friends and socialising, to not wanting to speak to anyone at all.

3 Changes in appetite: This can be both a decrease or drastic increase. Some children eat for comfort, just like adults, and some just have a loss of appetite.

4 Physical complaints: Some physical complaints like headaches and stomach cramps may be a sign, especially if they are not responding to treatment.

5 The inability to function: Some children find it hard to focus on things that they usually are good at, like their extra-curricular activities and hobbies. Then there is the inability to focus on anything ... there is a dip in their grades; and even helping around the house, you can see that they are a bit distracted.

These signs are not one-off occasions and do not apply to every child that is depressed. There are children who may still be able to focus and only have one symptom or none of these. All in all, you just have to speak to your children, listen and pay attention to changes, because though they are young and seem to be carefree, they have their own issues dealing with.

jody-anne.lawrence@gleanerjm.com