Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Children vs. Teens

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America,

“as many as 2 to 3 percent of children ages 6 to 12, and 6 to 8 percent of teens may have serious depression, and an estimated 2.8 million adolescents (ages 12 to 17) in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in 2014. Furthermore, about 80 percent of kids with an anxiety disorder and 60 percent with depression are not getting treatment.”

Learn the symptoms of Depression. Depression and anxiety are treatable disorders.

Symptoms of Depression in Young Children

  • Increased irritability
  • Complaints of aches and pains
  • Refusal to go to school
  • Excessive worry or anxiety
  • Tearfulness
  • Withdrawal
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Over-activity or excessive restlessness
  • Little interest in playing with others
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Low self-esteem
  • Changes in school performance

Symptoms of Depression in Tweens and Teens

  • Conduct problems
  • Drop in academic performance
  • Negative attitude
  • Sulking
  • Feeling misunderstood
  • Increased substance abuse
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Negative beliefs or schemas about the self, world, and future
  • Persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Persistent thoughts of inadequacy, rejection, and worthlessness
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Low energy or motivation
  • Increased irritability
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Relationship difficulties

Treatment for Depression and Anxiety

Anxiety and Depression can be treated at the same time and in the same way. Cognitive therapies, or therapy that addresses the interaction between how we think, what we do, and how we feel, have been shown to highly effective in treating both anxiety and depression. Cognitive therapies include: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. In addition to therapy, medication may also be indicated. With any treatment choices, it is important to look at the potential risk and benefits of both engaging in a particular treatment, as well as potential risks/benefits of NOT engaging in a recommended treatment.

If you are concerned about your child or teen, and believe he or she may be struggling with depression, talk with your child’s doctor or a mental health professional.


Balanced Mind Parent Network

Anxiety & Depression Association of America