How Depression Can Impact Your Family

Depression in Children: Symptoms, Suicide Signs & Treatment

How Depression Can Impact Your Family

Depression is a mood disorder that can cause someone to feel sad, irritable or hopeless. It may affect your sleep, appetite or relationships with others. Depression can also cause you to lose interest in hobbies or activities you once enjoyed. In severe cases, depression can lead to thoughts of suicide.

Depression is typically diagnosed if symptoms last two weeks or longer. It should only get evaluated, diagnosed and treated by a healthcare provider. Although depression is a serious medical condition, it’s usually treatable.

Does depression affect children?

Depression can affect people of any age, including children. Although children naturally have mood swings as they grow and develop, depression is different. The disorder can affect how children interact with friends and family. It may prevent them from enjoying school, sports, hobbies or other normal childhood activities.

In children, depression and anxiety often go hand in hand. Anxiety is a medical condition that causes feelings of fear, panic or worry about everyday situations. Sometimes, depression or anxiety in children gets chalked up to “growing pains.” But if you have any concerns about behavioral or mental health, talk to a healthcare provider.

How common is childhood depression and anxiety?

Depression and anxiety are among the most common mental health disorders in children. About 7% of children ages 3 to 17 have anxiety; about 3% deal with depression.

Both depression and anxiety tend to be higher in older children and teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17. An estimated 3.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 13.3% of the U.S. population aged 12 to 17. An estimated 31.9% of adolescents have had an anxiety disorder.

Depression and anxiety in children can have many causes, including:

  • Alcohol or drug use.
  • Environment (including family problems).
  • Family history (others in the family have depression).
  • Physical illness.
  • Stressful life events.

What are the signs of depression in children?

Parents should look out for the following signs of depression in children:

  • Behavioral problems at school.
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits.
  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
  • Lack of interest in fun activities.
  • Low energy levels or general tiredness.
  • Mood changes, such as irritability.

What are the signs of anxiety in children?

Signs of anxiety in children may include:

  • Anxiety about the future.
  • Fear of being away from a parent.
  • Physical symptoms of panic, such as sweating or dizziness.
  • Refusal to go to school or take part in social activities.
  • Worry that a parent or loved one may die.

Should I worry that my child will commit suicide?

National surveys from the government show the overall risk. In 2019, for example, nearly 9% of high school students attempted suicide at least once over the course of a year. Thinking about suicide also continued to rise from previous years . Although less common, young children do attempt suicide as well.

Watch your child closely for the warning signs of suicidal behavior, including:

  • Focus on death and dying.
  • Giving away possessions.
  • Increased risk-taking.
  • Self-destructive behavior or self-harm.
  • Social isolation.
  • Talk of suicide or hopelessness.

If you think your child is showing signs of depression or anxiety, talk to a healthcare provider. Start with your child’s pediatrician. Your pediatrician may refer you to a mental health professional for a more detailed evaluation.

A healthcare provider will ly start by ruling out conditions that may be causing your child’s mood issues. Illnesses known to cause symptoms of depression include:

There are no tests to diagnose depression. A mental health evaluation should include interviews with you (the parents) and your child. Information from teachers, friends and classmates can also shed light on your child’s mood and behavior changes.

Treatment options for children with depression are those for adults. Your child’s healthcare provider may recommend:

  • Psychotherapy (counseling).
  • Medication.
  • Combination of the two.

How does psychotherapy work?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that can treat anxiety or depression in children. CBT helps children learn to think more positively and control negative behaviors. It can also help children manage anxiety by getting to the root of their fears and worries. Therapy gives children tools to cope with anxiety and depression in healthier ways.

How do antidepressants work?

The most common antidepressant medications for children are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications increase the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that can help increase feelings of happiness and well-being.

Use extra caution with antidepressants in children. Some children show no improvement with the medications, or may even feel more depressed. If a healthcare provider recommends antidepressants, watch your child’s condition closely. Never allow your child to stop taking antidepressants suddenly. Doing so can cause serious side effects or make depression worse.

Depression can result from certain situations in life or may have a biological cause. As a parent, you can’t always control the stressors in your child’s life. But you can help improve your child’s mental health by ensuring they get:

  • Daily exercise.
  • Safe, supportive environment at home and school.
  • Plenty of sleep.
  • Well-balanced meals.

Every child is different. Some children may outgrow depression or anxiety. Others may need to manage these conditions for the rest of their lives. You can help your child now by making sure they get a proper diagnosis and the right treatment.

Call a healthcare provider if your child has any signs of depression or anxiety. If your child is showing signs of suicide, get help right away. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255.

This hotline connects you to a national network of local crisis centers for free and confidential emotional support. The centers support people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In an emergency, call 911.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

While it may be difficult to watch your child dealing with depression or anxiety, help is available. The right treatment can ensure your child continues to grow and thrive throughout their development.

In addition to medical help, you can support your child by making sure they have a healthy environment at home, at school and in the community.

Always let your child know they can communicate openly and honestly about their feelings.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/17/2020.



How Does Depression Affect Those Around You?

How Depression Can Impact Your Family

Clinical depression is a serious condition that affects both mind and body. It alters the way people feel about themselves and the people in their lives, and can subsequently damage or ruin relationships. If you have been diagnosed with depression, the primary focus of treatment (e.g.

deep TMS, medication, etc. ) is to improve your mental and physical health, but it is important to understand the painful effects your family and friends may experience as they try to provide you with emotional support.

Here are some of the ways depression may affect the people you regularly interact with.

Depression can promote negativity in those around you

Research shows that people who are clinically depressed tend to show preference to sad facial expressions, emotion words, and adjectives. Individuals who are suffering from depression also typically view vague social interactions as negative and attribute social difficulties to their personalities.

This leads to fewer close relationships, lower levels of empathy from others, and a higher incidence of unfavorable social interactions.

People who are chronically depressed also have a tendency to induce negativity in others and this may cause social rejection as well as the loss of socially rewarding relationships.

More specifically, research has consistently demonstrated a link between being depressed and experiencing rejection from other people in social settings.

Interacting with someone who is depressed may cause otherwise healthy individuals to feel more depressed, hostile, rejecting, and anxious.

Negative feelings make it harder for the individual who is suffering from depression to display good-natured social behavior and this disrupts relationships.

A conflictual relationship may develop

Individuals who regularly interact with someone who is clinically depressed may become critical, emotionally over-involved, and hostile toward that person. This change in behavior is known as expressed emotion and it is especially common among caregivers (e.g.


Studies conducted in clinical settings have shown that this can cause a conflictual relationship to develop between the caregiver and the depressed subject, as well as the worsening of depressive symptoms and social functioning for the person struggling with depression

If a caregiver is unable to find ways to lower the level of expressed emotion, the risk of relapse for the depression sufferer increases and the cycle of negativity may continue. In such cases, psycho-education for family members or loved ones and family-focused therapy can help improve expressed emotion in personal relationships.

Depression can impact the physical health of loved ones

Family members or close acquaintances of people with depression may experience different types of health problems.

Caregivers in particular, generally demonstrate a higher incidence of mental health problems and depressive symptoms, and a significant number of caregivers meet the criteria for clinical depression.

They also report higher levels of frustration, stress, fatigue, anger, helplessness, or guilt. Those who experience chronic stress may even begin to suffer from decreased mental performance, including impaired memory function and a shortened attention span.

Physical health problems that may be experienced by close acquaintances or loved ones include: headaches, acid reflux, body pain, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, a weakened immune system, and increased levels of stress hormones, among others.

Additional issues such as lowered self-esteem, feelings of uncertainty, constant worry, and the loss of self-identity have also been reported by individuals who care for someone suffering from mental health issues (e.g. depression).

Furthermore, as a caregiver’s health status declines, the severity of depression and perceived burden gradually increases for the caregiver. Some individuals (e.g. spouse) may begin to take prescription medication in order to try to cope with taking care of a loved one who is struggling with depression.

In general, a person who has a close relationship with someone who has depression may struggle with self-care and this can lead to a number of serious health issues if helpful coping strategies are not established.

It is important to remember that individuals who are not caregivers but  frequently interact the depressed person  can also experience these types of health problems.

Keep in mind how your social behavior may affect those around you

If you frequently experience a loss of interest in pleasurable activities, insomnia, fatigue, decreased focus, social problems, or even thoughts of suicide, it is important to remember that that these symptoms may affect both your long-term health as well as those around you. This means that receiving individualized treatment such as deep TMS and pursuing therapy which is family/caregiver-focused is essential for you and your loved ones.

Considering how depression affects those around you, it’s important to have people in your life who are able to maintain emotional and physical health through good self-care as they will be better able to support you when you need it most.

This can help reduce conflicts and prevent the loss of close relationships. But don’t rely on these personal connections alone to get you through your depression symptoms, as it isn’t a permanent solution.

Depression can be treated, and understanding how depression affects those around you may encourage you to seek out beneficial treatment options.

How to get help for depression

If you are dealing with depression symptoms and concerned about how depression affects those around you, it is paramount to seek out professional help.

By meeting with a doctor, you can discuss your depression concerns and symptoms with a medical professional.

Then, you and your doctor can take steps to identify the root cause of your depression and treat your depression symptoms accordingly.

It may seem difficult to get help for depression, but remember, depression symptoms are common. Recent research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that approximately 7.1% of U.S. adults experience depression symptoms.

SAMHSA also reports that an estimated 11 million U.S. adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2017.

With the right approach to depression treatment, however, individuals can identify the warning signs of depression and find ways to manage their depression symptoms.

At Achieve TMS, we help our patients discover the best ways to alleviate severe depression symptoms.

We develop personalized TMS therapy plans for each of our patients to ensure that these individuals can safely and effectively manage their depression.

We also monitor each TMS therapy patient’s progress to help him or her maximize treatment results. To learn more about our TMS therapy offerings, please contact us online or call or text us today at 877-285-0822.


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