Being a parent is never easy – but dealing with mental illness in your children is truly heartbreaking. When you want to make everything better for your baby, depression can make you feel totally powerless. But what’s even more pernicious? The fact it can be so hard to diagnose what’s really going on.
The symptoms of depression in adults are fairly well known. But, as Michael Schulte-Markwort, a specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry and psychotherapy and clinic director at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf explained to Business Insider, the symptoms in children can be very different.
Rather than being low in mood and quiet, for example, kids more commonly suffer inexplicable temper tantrums. Alongside these, parents are warned to look out for teariness, insomnia, and a loss of interest in playing or socializing with peers.
But what makes the situation even tougher? “Symptoms also depend on the personality and character of the child,” said Schulte-Markwort. Which means it can be even trickier to know what’s going on.
Parents are warned to look out for psychosomatic symptoms like stomach aches and phantom pains, lack of appetite or changes in eating habits, and a loss of concentration. Young infants can also become clingy and over-affectionate.
These behaviors don’t necessarily mean a child is suffering from depression, though. It’s important that you know what’s normal for your child so you can judge any potentially worrying changes, and help your child live their happiest life.