Thursday, November 3, 2011

10 signs your 10 year old is depressed

You didn't think ten-year-old people could be depressed, did you? They're too busy watching Cartoon Network and scootering and making snow angels and eating Oreos to be depressed -- right? Wrong. Benjy was only four the first time he expressed the desire to end his life.

Here are 10 signs, most culled from my own experience, that your child may be depressed:

  • She's not sleeping
  • She's sleeping all the time
  • He's lost interest in his all-time favorite sport
  • He's gained (or lost) a significant amount of weight
  • She's withdrawn from friends, or from the desire of having friends
  • She is hurting herself or talking about doing so
  • He complains frequently of stomach aches or has other somatic complaints
  • His school work is suffering
  • She's unusually angry
  • She is passively (my life is not worth living) or actively (I want to kill myself and know how I would do it) suicidal
  • He or she experiences symptoms like these for an extended period of time -- more than two weeks. (I know, that was 11.)
It can be hard to face the fact that your child may be mentally ill. Even the words "mental illness" are hard -- scary and, of course, pejorative. But the good thing about recognizing the signs of depression is that once you do, you can help. Therapy. Medication. Both.  Don't think that just because she's six she can't be depressed. She can -- take it from me.

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