Parents’ Guide: Recognizing Childhood Depression and Anxiety

Mums and dads know their kids better than anybody else does. If you’ve always had a gregarious and outgoing child it can come as a surprise, and a shock, when they noticeably don’t appear to be themselves. Look out for things like sleeping more, eating less, giving up on their passions or simply not caring about their appearance, these are all warning signs related to anxiety and depression you need to be aware of.

Anxiety and Depression

Depression and anxiety are common but frequently unrecognized among kids and adolescent. The rate of depression in elementary school is equal in both girls and boys and it is about two per cent of children. Once we hit adolescence, the rate between boys and girls is between 5 to 8 per cent and it tends to go up over time, so depression in children is rare but depression in teenagers is about as common as it is as adults.

The clinical spectrum of anxiety and depression can range from simple sadness to a bipolar disorder or major depressive. For depression, what we are looking is the changed in the sleep patterns, change in the appetite either gaining a lot of weight, lost of energy, lost of interest in a favorite activity, if your child has given up a friendship, or changes in grades or changes in grooming.

Another most common mental health disorders in children are actually anxiety. Anxiety disorders cause extreme worry, and fear, and changes in a child’s behavior, grooming and sleeping patterns, eating, or mood.

One of the things that children frequently have is called phobias or being scared of things is something that we can help them with. Other kinds of anxiety include worrying too much or worrying about specific things. If you’re talking with your child and you think they might be anxious, you could just say to your child, “What are you worried about?” Kids’ anxiety will also have to find trouble sleep. So if you have one of those children whose hard to settle down for the night, one of the things to do is have a worry check in and make sure that the worries are tucked away.

However, your child’s neurological needs and support may vary depending on the type of anxiety disorder they may be suffering from. This is why it’s important to be knowledgeable of the different types of anxiety and identify the stages of childhood depression in order to better help your kid in bettering themselves.

Different Types of Anxiety

● Generalized Anxiety (GAD) It is the most common type of anxiety disorders. If your kid is suffering from this kind of anxiety, chances are they have so many things they worry about all at once, such as tests, homework, or past mistakes. With GAD, kids tend to worry more over things parents might not expect would cause worries, such as weather, war, the future or about loved ones, illness, or safety. Having GAD can be very challenging and hard for your kids to focus in school because they always have something in mind to worry about. They will also find it difficult to relax, have fun, fall asleep at night and eat properly, prompting physical symptoms such as headaches and fatigue.

● Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) OCD involves disturbing thoughts, images, or urges/obsessions that intrude into a child’s mind. This unwanted thoughts or obsessions cause a great deal of stress, anxiety or discomfort, which the child then tries to reduce by means of adopting repetitive behaviors or mental compulsions.

● Phobias
A phobia is another type of anxiety which involves excessive fear of an object or situation, which last for at least six months. Your child is more inclined to develop this type of anxiety if he or she had a disturbing first encounter with an object or situation. If your kid becomes so overwhelmed by this fear, the tendency of completely avoiding any situations that cause the fear is highly likely.

● Social anxiety Social anxiety disorder or social phobia in children is characterized by an intense panic of social situations in the fear that they might have to interact with other people or be the focus of attention. It also involves extreme fear that they’ll do something stupid or embarrassing, worry that they might be scrutinized by others or that people will think badly of them.

● Panic attacks Your child may be struggling with panic attacks if he/she suffers from sudden, unexpected anxiety attacks that include overwhelming dread or intense fear and physical symptoms, such as dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, and muscle tension. A panic attack is a brief episode of intense fear that normally takes for about 20 minutes. This type of anxiety frequently develops without any signs or symptoms.

● Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition whereby the patient suffers from nightmares, flashbacks, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts brought by a terrifying event from the past.

Stages of Childhood Depression

● Depression 1(D1) This stage is the most common in very young children and characterized by feeling sadness, loneliness, or grief and manifested socially such as alienation from family and friends. Most children who are in this stage find it difficult to articulate their feelings.

● Depression 2 (D2) In this stage, your child’s sadness stems greatly from personal issues such as lack or negative self-esteem. Patient suffering from this usually thinks certain worthlessness in their self, associated with a painful feeling of inability to be loved by the people they value most.

● Depression 3 (D3) Here, depression emanates from a feeling of guilt for being inadequate. The patient normally has the tendency to believe that they have to be punished and they usually form suicidal thoughts. This state is overwhelming and akin to those signs and symptoms suffered by adults who are clinically depressed.

How to Help Your Depressed Child

The challenge of overcoming depression and anxiety is no walk in the park. Long months of sessions and medications are needed in order to get your child back on their feet and be able to continue living a happy life.

In order to help your kid, it is good to start by understanding the signs and symptoms they possessed first. It is best to set an appointment with an expert in this field, such as Brain Wellness Spa, as they can offer personalized treatment plan suitable for the medical needs and conditions of your child. It is always imperative to have the aid of someone who specialized in this area to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression suffered by your child.

Allowing your child to address the triggering factors for their depression and anxiety can help them to safely delve into their inner emotions and it can also raise an awareness of the root cause of their anxiety and depression.

Sure, the treatment process may not be an easy path both for the parent and especially to the child, but such long hours spent in enhancing your kid’s mental health is nothing for you know that there’s a pot of gold waiting at the end of this road.


Whether we’re talking about anxiety or depression, we know that both disorders get in the way of a child’s life. If you have untreated anxiety and depression, it makes it harder to making keep friends, do after school activities, function well in the classroom in terms of grades and homework, and get along with family members.

Anxiety and depression have adverse impacts on life and the longer they go untreated, the harder it is to make those symptoms go away. Your child does not have to go through all the pain because both disorders are treatable for there are treatments now both in the form of therapy and medication. Help your kids enjoy their childhood and let them know that they are not alone in this battle!

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