Depression is different from the normal “blues” and everyday emotions that occur as a child develops. Just because a child seems sad doesn’t necessarily mean he or she has significant depression. If the sadness becomes persistent, or if the disruptive behavior that interferes with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork, or family life develops, it may indicate that he or she has a depressive illness. Keep in mind that while depression is a serious illness, it is also a treatable one.
Source: Web MD
All children experience anxiety. Anxiety in children is expected and normal at specific times in development. For example, from approximately age 8 months through the preschool years, healthy youngsters may show intense distress (anxiety) at times of separation from their parents or other persons with whom they are close. Young children may have short-lived fears, such as fear of the dark, storms, animals, or a fear of strangers. Anxious children are often overly tense or uptight. Some may seek a lot of reassurance, and their worries may interfere with activities. Parents should not dismiss a child’s fears. Because anxious children may also be quiet, compliant and eager to please, their difficulties may be missed. Parents should be alert to the signs of severe anxiety so they can intervene early to prevent complications. There are different types of anxiety in children.
Symptoms of separation anxiety include:
• constant thoughts and intense fears about the safety of parents and caretakers
• refusing to go to school
• frequent stomachaches and other physical complaints
• extreme worries about sleeping away from home
• being overly clingy
• panic or tantrums at times of separation from parents
• trouble sleeping or nightmares
Symptoms of phobia include:
• extreme fear of a specific thing or situation (ex. dogs, insects, or needles)
• the fears cause significant distress and interfere with usual activities
Symptoms of social anxiety include:
• fears of meeting or talking to people
• avoidance of social situations
• few friends outside the family
Other symptoms of anxious children include:
• many worries about things before they happen
• constant worries or concerns about family, school, friends, or activities
• repetitive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or actions (compulsions)
• fears of embarrassment or making mistakes
• low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence
Bipolar disorder is a serious brain illness. It is also called manic-depressive illness or manic depression. Children with bipolar disorder go through unusual mood changes. Sometimes they feel very happy or “up,” and are much more energetic and active than usual, or that other kids their age. This is called a manic episode.Sometimes children with bipolar disorder feel very sad and “down,” and are much less active than usual. This is called depression or a depressive episode.
Bipolar disorder is not the same as the normal ups and downs every kid goes through. Bipolar symptoms are more powerful than that. The mood swings are more extreme and are accompanied by changes in sleep, energy level, and the ability to think clearly. Bipolar symptoms are so strong, they can make it hard for a child to do well in school or get along with friends and family members. The illness can also be dangerous. Some young people with bipolar disorder try to hurt themselves or attempt suicide.