Child & Teen Depression & Bipolar Disorder
Major Depression (AKA clinical depression) is characterized by the experience of a major depressive episode, which involves either (1) a depressed mood or sadness and/or (2) a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities. These symptoms may be recognized by one’s self or observed by others. In children and adolescents, irritable mood may be present. Other symptoms of depression include:
- Changes in weight or appetite.
- Sleep difficulties, such as insomnia (inability to sleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleep).
- Restlessness, pacing, rapid talking or slowing of physical movements.
- Fatigue or loss of energy.
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt.
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or difficulty making decisions.
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation
In addition to the above symptoms, children and adolescents may also have some of the following symptoms:
- Vague physical complaints
- Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Increased irritability
- Anger or hostility
- Reckless behaviour
Bipolar Disorder, (AKA manic depression or manic-depressive disorder) is characterized by mood and activity changes. A child or teen with Bipolar Disorder may experience manic episodes, depressive episodes or mixed mood episodes. During an episode, the symptoms last every day for most of the day.
Children and teens having a manic episode may:
- Feel very happy or act silly in a way that’s unusual for them and for other people their age
- Have a short temper
- Talk really fast about a lot of different things
- Difficulties sleeping
- Difficulty focusing
- Do risky things (e.g., spending sprees, sexual indiscretions)
These manic episodes can range from mild to severe. During severe episodes of mania, hospitalization may be necessary.
Children and teens having a depressive episode may:
- Feel very sad
- Complain about physical pain such as stomachaches and headaches
- Sleep too little or too much
- Feel guilty and worthless
- Eat more or less than usual
- Have low energy and no interest in fun activities
- Be irritable, angry or hostile
- Think about death or suicide
For further symptoms of depression, see Major Depression.