Depression in Children
Children can and do suffer from depression. Depression in children can be distinguished from the normal fluctuations of childhood development when symptoms persist for more than a few weeks. In children, depression may present as persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness, mood swings, or irritability. Children with depression may act out or lash out, and may show reduced interest in things they once enjoyed. It children, it may be difficult to identify the signs of depression because symptoms can fluctuate. However, parents and caregivers know their children best, and, if concerned, may seek professional consultation and/or an evaluation.
Signs of a Developing Bipolar Disorder in Children
Bipolar disorder is not usually diagnosed in young children; however, children may show the signs of a developing Bipolar Disorder. A child may experience manic and depressive episodes, which are different from normal mood swings and accompanied by noticeable changes in activity level, eating, and sleep patterns. During manic episodes a child may become hyperactive, have a shorter temper than usual, and engage in riskier behaviors, whereas during depressive episodes a child may be lethargic, feel intense guilt or helplessness, or even express thoughts of suicide.
In recent years, many children previously diagnosed with a developing bipolar disorder are now classified as Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD). A qualified professional can differentiate between the two, and identify an appropriate treatment plan.