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Comparing Symptoms of Normal Moodiness With Depression in Children

Table of Contents


Topic Overview

It is normal for your growing child to be moody or somewhat irritable as he or she moves through adolescence. But symptoms of prolonged sadness or irritability and a loss of pleasure in activities the child enjoyed before can point to depression. Depression is not a normal part of growing up. Deciding whether your child's behavior is normal or a symptom of depression can be difficult.

A family history of depression, substance use disorder, or anxiety increases your child's risk for depression. A child is also more likely to become depressed if a parent is depressed.

Your child may need to be evaluated for depression if he or she:

Most children will experience some unexplained sadness or boredom now and then. Asking your child a few questions about how he or she is feeling overall may help identify mild or moderate depression, which is more difficult to recognize than symptoms of severe depression. Some examples of questions to ask your child to help you decide if your child needs to see a health professional for possible depression might include:

While questions such as these will not diagnose depression, they can open the doors of communication with your child and help you decide whether your child needs to be further assessed by a health professional.


Credits for Comparing Symptoms of Normal Moodiness With Depression in Children

Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
David A. Brent MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


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