Understanding Anxiety and Depression in Children – and How You Can Help


As a parent, you know that children can experience a rollercoaster of emotions. You’ve watched them throw an epic tantrum, then start playing happily only moments later. The emotional ups and downs are part of growing up, after all.

However, there may come a point when your child experiences feelings that are no longer considered everyday emotions. For example, anxiety and depression are medical conditions that can affect children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state approximately 4.4 million children 17 years old and under have been diagnosed with anxiety, and about 1.9 million have been diagnosed with depression.

A child with anxiety may be triggered so severely that their physical and emotional functions suffer. And when the “blues” or sadness begins to interfere with their everyday life and impact social and school activities, it’s time to seek help. By intervening now, you can help your child maintain a higher level of wellness and life satisfaction.

Anxiety in Children

Anxiety problems come in various forms, including phobias. Children with anxiety have trouble dealing with daily stresses and issues, causing them to become excessively emotional or irrational. When anxiety becomes persistent and affects your child’s ability to function, it becomes classified as a disorder. When triggered by a panic disorder associated with anxiety, your child may become confused, palpitate, tense up, panic or even have difficulty breathing.

With social anxiety, your child may fear being around other people, making school and crowded places uncomfortable for them. With general anxiety, they may have constant negative thoughts and worry about the future, leading them to participate less in everyday activities. With phobias, your child’s anxiety may be triggered upon seeing or experiencing something they have an extreme fear of–such as clowns, large animals, heights or being left alone.

Depression in Children

Depression is a mood disorder that affects everyday life and is caused by a mix of psychological and environmental factors. However, the condition can also be hereditary.

Depression in children looks like persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, sleep disturbances, loss of energy, and trouble focusing. Your child may even lose their appetite. In severe cases, they may become self-destructive and harm themselves. In extreme depression, children may have suicidal thoughts and make plans for suicide.

Treating Anxiety and Depression in Children

Parents and guardians need to pay special attention to children’s behavior to detect symptoms of anxiety and depression. Kids with mood disorders won’t always be willing—or able—to verbalize their helplessness. And children that are irrational, easily agitated, socially distant, quiet, seemingly uninterested, and anxious may easily be mislabeled.

That’s when an evaluation by a mental health specialist is helpful. Our experts can meet with a child showing signs of disconnect from everyday activities and regular emotions to understand what they need to be safe and healthy. As a parent, you should know there is help available—and hope.



By Communicare


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