Even in the best of times, growing up is a roller coaster. And if you decide to take them to Six Flags — whoa, look out. At some point on the road to adulthood, many kids experience some amount of anxiety or depression. But you don’t need to be a loosely credentialed daytime therapy show host to recognize what’s going on with your kid. Vicki Botnick, a family therapist who specializes in depression, knows the difference between your teen listening to a lot of Elliott Smith and your 6-year-old displaying signs of something serious. Here are 6 things to look for:
Know The Difference Between Depression And Anxiety
Kids feeling anxiety often appear scared, worried, or generally overwhelmed, Botnick says. Which may describe every day in your house. The key difference is how much they’re overreacting or how quickly they become panicked.
Typically depression — especially in older kids and teens — will often appear as sadness, pessimism, low self-esteem, physical or mental exhaustion, or lack of interest in the activities that they usually enjoy. These are the kids that are isolating themselves, but not in a “Oh, good they’re playing in their room” kind of way. And there’s crying. Lots of crying.
On the extreme end, if they’re talking about suicide, or self-harming, that is the reddest of flags. One last thing to note: A past history of depression or alcoholism in your family can also be a risk factor.
Depression Looks Different In Young Kids
Up until puberty, when hormones start rampaging through their bodies like a middle school Hulk, these feelings often show up as frequent irritability. “In little ones, [depression] sometimes doesn’t look like sadness; it looks like anger or outbursts and crankiness,” says Botnick. But try a Snickers first.
For Any Age, Be Alert For Sudden Changes
Regardless of age, look for sudden changes in your kid — if there seems…