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Depression in Children: The Message Behind the Anger


Depression in Children: The Message Behind the Anger


A child expressing anger isn’t unusual or something to be worried about. It is a normal emotion that any person, child or adult, may exhibit sometimes. It deserves attention when anger becomes persistent and intense, even when here is no acceptable cause for it.  Rather than merely labeling it as a bad or disrespectful behavior, the productive thing to do is for it to be assessed by a therapist because it could be a sign of depression.


Recognizing the Symptoms that Say Depression

The number of children suffering from depression is high. About one to two percent of school-aged American children have depression, says Son and Kirchner (2000), authors of Depression in Children and Adolescents. According to AACAP (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry), including the teens, the statistic is 1 in every 20 children. Unfortunately, the chance that it would escape the parents’ notice is also high. This is the reason why many depressed children are not being diagnosed and why it may persist beyond childhood.

Why are early symptoms being missed by parents? The symptoms of depression in children aren’t easy to recognize. Just like anger, the other symptoms can also be natural responses or behaviors associated with being an introvert. For instance, who would think that loss of appetite, oversleeping, and/or staying cooped up in the bedroom, could be symptoms of depression? Depression can also be masked by the symptoms of other conditions. If you are watching out for the classic symptoms of depression in children, you too can miss the symptoms.

If depression isn’t on your radar because you think it’s a teen or adult “thing,” you are likely to miss the signs. According to Dr. Jess Shatkin of the New York University Child Study Center, children, as young as infants, are never too young for depression. It can be the condition to blame for “fussy babies.”  It takes a keen eye to notice a change in your’ child’s behavioral manifestations. This underscores the value of seeking professional diagnosis when you notice a change in your child’s usual behavior.


Is This Your Child

The possible roots of depression are different for each child. If depression has been experienced by some relatives, either on the maternal or paternal side, your child has a higher chance of developing depression because he/she could be genetically vulnerable. If your child has just gone through a traumatic or deeply moving experience – divorce of the parents, serious ailment/death in the family, being bullied in school, etc. – any of these can trigger depression.

Depression may not necessarily manifest itself in the “classic” way, which is sadness. The gloom can confuse your child, so he/she may react to it in an unusual way. Instead of just being sad, they may misbehave or act out, not knowing how else to express their confusion.  Some children just naturally have a “short fuse,” and anger isn’t unusual for them, but excessive and unreasonable anger must not be ignored.

Accepting that your child may have an imperfection isn’t something that parents can readily accept. Unfortunately, turning a blind eye on the symptoms can further delay the diagnosis and the treatment. While feeling the way you do is understandable, remember that your child suffers more with every passing day. Without treatment, the symptoms can get worse, putting your child’s functioning in a greater quandary.


Taking the Courageous Step

Depressive symptoms won’t vanish just by loving, supporting, and taking care of your child. To lessen the symptoms, they need to be treated by a qualified professional, such as a therapist. If you have an unhealthy notion about depression, you may have to summon all your courage to alter your view to be a positive factor in the life of your child.

Depression can make your child suffer. It can prevent your child from living a normal, fulfilling life, even beyond childhood. It can make your life more difficult too, especially with persistent resentment and resistance every inch of the way. You may lose your patience, feel discouraged, and use “iron hands” to make them obey – this will not help. To calm your child’s anger and feitiness, and quell their irrational meltdowns, take the courageous, positive step – therapy.


Resolving Anger Early

Depression can grow with your child. Without the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment, it can become their permanent baggage. This is why it is important that you don’t trivialize sudden changes in their behavior or take their unnecessary outbursts with a “grain of salt.” Paying attention can be the difference between your child getting early treatment and another child who will be gripped by depression for a long time.

Your child’s emotional health depends on you. Do not be afraid to take the courageous step forward. Knowing that you can easily miss the symptoms, seek out the right help – a caring and experienced therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – Cameron, NC – on Hwy 87, near Linden Oaks. The right therapist can help counsel your child, so you can see your child comeback to improved emotional health.

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Cameron, NC

Counties: Harnett County

Areas: Cameron NC, Linden Oaks NC, Sprout Springs NC, Anderson Creek NC, Olivia NC, Pineview NC, Johnsonville NC, Spring Lake NC

Zip Codes: 28326, 28327, 27332, 28394

Rose Thomas, MA, LPC, LCAS, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Teens, Individuals, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder, ADHD, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Parenting, PTSD/Trauma Recovery, Acute Stress Disorder, Adult Sexual Abuse Survivors, Adjustment Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar and Related Disorders, Self-injurious/Self-Harm, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety, Disruptive Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Marital Conflict and Discord, LGBT, Substance Use Disorders
 Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Tricare Prime, Tricare Select, Extra, Retired, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express


Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Individuals, families, PTSD, Trauma, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Adjustment Disorder, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, communication skills, and Parenting Skills, Behavior Management, Life transitions, Family Conflict, Difficulty Coping, Relationship Problems, Depression, Anxiety

InsuranceBCBSTricare, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted and Apple Pay

Credit cards:  


Shirlisa Daniels, MS, LPC, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Teens, Adults and Individuals, Families, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Panic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, ODD, PTSD, Relationship Issues, Conflict Resolution and Life Transitions
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Cash (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

Holly Ring, LMFT

Specializes in: (Ages 7+) Adolescents, College Students, Individuals, Couples, and Families, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma (child and adult, TFCBT certified), Relationship Issues, Coping Skills, Adjustment Disorders, Life Transitions, Suicidal Ideation, Self-esteem, OCD, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting Skills, LGBTQ
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Cash (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

How Do I Set Up my FIRST Appointment?

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Carolina Counseling Services - Cameron, NC
35 Plantation Drive, Suite 100B and 100C
Cameron, NC 28326

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PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

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