We usually think of kids as happy and curious little beings who don’t have adult worries and responsibilities. But as grown-ups, we need to realize that depression can start in childhood too. Identifying the signs early on is essential and getting the right help for your child. It’s also important to approach depression with kindness and understanding.

Children find it hard to express their emotions, particularly when it comes to mood disorders like depression. That’s why you need to be aware and recognize the signs. In this article, we’ll talk about the different types of depression disorders that can affect adolescents, identify the warning signs of depression in both kids and teenagers and provide strategies for early detection.

Varieties of Depression Disorders

Depression is a complex emotional condition that affects millions of people all around the world. It can occur at any age and can be quite challenging to deal with. Psychologists and experts in this field have identified different types of depression disorders.

The first two major types of depression are clinical depression and situational depression. Clinical depression is a long-lasting condition that is linked to a specific event in a person’s life. On the other hand, situational depression is usually caused by emotional upheaval such as the loss of a loved one. Both types of depression can cause a person to feel low and may require treatment. However, clinical depression tends to last longer than situational depression.

Additional Forms of Depression Disorders

Did you know that apart from the commonly known depression disorder, there are other forms of depression too? One such disorder is called Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). It’s a mood disorder that can make a person feel sad and uninterested in life, which can eventually disrupt their daily activities. Some of the symptoms of MDD include:

  • An overall depressed mood

  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities

  • An increase or decrease in appetite or weight

  • Changes in sleep habits

  • Fatigue

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Feelings of worthlessness

  • In extreme cases, thoughts of suicide or the idealization of death.

Persistent Depressive Disorder(PDD): is a type of depression that can last for an extended period - from days to even years - and can cause brief breaks in symptoms. It is somewhat different from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), as it can produce similar symptoms, but with additional feelings of anger, irritability, low self-esteem, and oversleeping. This can have a unique impact on children who suffer from depression.

Bipolar Disorder: People who have bipolar disorder experience episodes of extreme depression followed by periods of heightened mood, which can vary in severity. The mood swings can also cause physical symptoms, such as body pains and aches, along with feelings of anxiety, irritability, and confusion. In severe cases, bipolar disorder can lead to psychosis, hallucinations, and even thoughts of self-harm. It can be tough to deal with, but with proper treatment and support, individuals with bipolar disorder can manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): It’s worth noting that some teenagers who have begun menstruating may experience cyclical depression. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a condition that goes beyond the typical premenstrual symptoms such as feeling irritable, bloated, having cravings, and feeling tired. People who have PMDD may experience extreme mood swings, feel very tired, have difficulty focusing, and have a tendency to overeat or binge eat. It can be quite challenging to deal with.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): During the winter season, some people may experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can cause feelings of depression, fatigue, and other symptoms commonly associated with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Unlike other types of depression, SAD is linked to the change in seasons, particularly in the winter months. This is because the reduced sunlight during the winter can disrupt our natural sleep-wake cycle, known as the circadian rhythms. Although SAD is more prevalent in extreme northern and southern latitudes, it can happen anywhere in the world. A combination of light therapy and traditional depression treatments can help reduce and counteract the symptoms of SAD.

Atypical Depression: It’s interesting to note that atypical depression is a pretty common type of depression, despite its name. Those who experience it often feel tired, sleep more than usual, and may feel physically weak. They might also be more sensitive than usual and experience intense mood swings. Atypical depression is different from other types of depression because the symptoms can improve when something positive happens but then return when things go back to normal. It’s important to recognize this type of depression and seek help if you or someone you know is dealing with it.

Warning Signs of Depression in Kids

It can be tough to spot depression in children, but it’s really important to keep an eye out for it. Kids might not always be able to explain how they’re feeling or what they’re going through, so it’s up to grown-ups like parents, teachers, and other caring adults to look for signs that a child might be struggling with depression.

Some common signs of depression in kids are:

  • Withdrawal from usual activities, family, and friends

  • Lack of engagement in hobbies, sports, and clubs

  • A decline in academic performance

  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much

  • Increase or decrease in appetite and weight

  • Expression of guilt, fear of rejection, or feeling misunderstood

  • Unexplained crying

  • Self-harming or discussion of self-harming

It’s important to keep an eye out for these signs and support our children if they need it.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): In children, it can show up in different ways. They might complain about physical aches and pains, take unnecessary risks, or turn to substances. Their self-esteem might take a hit. If a child has Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), they might struggle with their social growth and, in some cases, they might even think about suicide. It’s important to keep an eye out for these signs and seek professional help if needed.

Persistent depressive disorder (PDD): When children are dealing with Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD), there might be times when they seem to be improving and experiencing moments of happiness. However, it’s crucial to remember that their symptoms of depression can return. The longer they live with PDD, the higher the risk of them progressing to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). It’s like a shadow that can come back, even when the sun is shining. So, it’s important to stay vigilant and supportive.

Bipolar disorder: Children who are dealing with bipolar disorder experience intense periods of depression followed by times when they feel overly excited and energetic. They may express their emotions through temper tantrums, become easily agitated, take unnecessary risks, and talk very quickly or loudly. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can come and go, causing changes in behavior that can affect their schoolwork and relationships with others. It can be tough for these children, but with proper care and support, they can manage their symptoms and live a fulfilling life.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): Teenage girls grappling with depression can sometimes be misunderstood as just having PMS or typical mood swings. However, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a genuine and severe condition that can trigger severe episodes of depression, significantly affecting various facets of a teenager’s life. Early detection of symptoms is crucial, which means being observant of your child’s behavior, tracking any mood changes, and ensuring open dialogues about their experiences. By doing this, you can assist your child in getting the necessary support and care to manage their symptoms and improve their well-being.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): If you’re worried that your child might be dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it’s crucial to keep an eye on any mood changes that appear to be tied to the changing seasons and exposure to sunlight. For example, kids with SAD might feel low and show signs of depression during the winter months when daylight is scarce, and their spirits may lift as spring arrives with longer, sunnier days. By being aware of these shifts and ensuring your child receives the necessary care, you can help them navigate their symptoms and enhance their overall mood.

Atypical Depression: Children grappling with atypical depression might appear to perk up during special events and activities, showing a burst of energy and a brighter mood. However, once they return to their usual routines, they might slip back into a state of depression. This can be challenging for both the kids and their families to handle. But remember, with the right support and care, they can learn to control their symptoms and improve their emotional well-being.

Looking out for our kids: How we can monitor their online activity for signs of depression and maintain their wellness.

As a parent, it can be tough to keep an eye on your child’s well-being in today’s digital age. With so much time spent at school and online, it’s important to watch out for any signs of depression. That’s where Pinardin comes in handy. We offer a variety of tools to help you manage your child’s online presence and ensure their safety.

Our content monitoring, screen time management, and web blocking features are designed to keep your child safe online. And if you’re worried about potential depression, our monitoring service can prove especially helpful. It can detect any messages or posts containing language related to depression, anxiety, or thoughts of self-harm. From emails and text messages to social media posts, we provide a comprehensive overview of your child’s online interactions. This way, you can stay on top of any content or activities in their digital world.