Posted by Idaho Youth Ranch on Aug 13, 2019 9:22:31 AM
Depression and Anxiety in Childhood
Childhood should be a safe, happy, carefree time, full of fun and exploration--but for some kids, it's not. Depression and anxiety make it difficult for children to enjoy life to the fullest, and if not adequately addressed, can cause problems that last long into adulthood.
Since depression and anxiety both involve patterns of unhealthy thinking, they are generally referred to as "internalizing disorders." Just because they exist inside a child's head, this does not mean these disorders aren't real, frustrating, and unhealthy-- just like physical illnesses. And, just like a physical illness, these disorders can impact their physical health, their social life, their school work, and nearly every facet of their life.
Sometimes it can be difficult for children to put these thoughts and feelings into words, so it's important to know how to recognize the signs of both anxiety and depression in order to get them the help they need.
Anxiety looks a little different in each child, but some of the most common symptoms are:
- Irritability and frustration
- Sleep issues
- Physical problems like headaches and stomachaches
There are different types of anxieties, including phobias (fear of specific situations or things), generalized anxiety (a feeling of "doom" and excessive worry about the future), social anxiety (extreme stress about being judged by others, often resulting in shyness and social issues), and panic disorders (episodes of intense fear with physical symptoms like shaking, sweating, and pounding heartbeat).
Childhood depression can be difficult to categorize, but it often looks like:
- Inexplicable sadness and hopelessness
- Changes in eating habits
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Lack of interest in hobbies or fun activities
- Feelings of uselessness, guilt, and frustration
Depression can also lead to suicidal ideation and sometimes attempts, so it's crucial that children with depression get help.
What Causes Anxiety and Depression?
While there may not always be one specific reason you can pinpoint, depression and anxiety in children are common, and can come from any number of factors, including genetics, environment, trauma, and more.
The good news is that no child has to live with depression and anxiety. Idaho Youth Ranch always offers help for struggling kids and families, so that childhood can be safe, happy, and carefree again.
If you are concerned about a child in your life, please reach out to us today.
Written by Idaho Youth Ranch
Our Mission: We unite for Idaho’s youth by providing accessible programs and services that nurture hope, healing, and resilience.