Depression and Anxiety in Children and Teens 

What does anxiety and depression look like for children and adolescents?

“Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” –Rita Pierson

Has your child begun acting differently?  Do they act more irritable, withdrawn, tearful, or worried?  The stress of being a kid affects many children in the Newport Beach area, which is why issues such as depression and anxiety are so common (DSM-5).  

Depression and anxiety are the most common explanations for sudden changes in mood and behavior during childhood (Nilsen, Eisemann, & Kvernmo, 2012). If you feel your child or teen is struggling, the team at Variations Psychology wants to help.

Although depression and anxiety disorders are different, it is common for the symptoms to co-occur.  The symptoms of these emotional disorders result in difficulties with family, issues related to social life, and decreased academic functioning (Nilsen, Eisemann, & Kvernmo, 2012). 

The key to addressing these issues is early detection and treatment.  If you believe that your child or teen struggles with anxiety or depression, contact Variations Psychology today.  

Together, we can help your child feel better and live healthier.  You do not have to do this alone.  

Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in the United States (DSM-5), and children are particularly at-risk.  Depression can look differently in childhood and adolescence than in adulthood, and while many of the most symptoms of depression may be present, additional issues may also arise such as irritability, acting out, and anger.  

The symptoms of depression also tend to increase with the onset of puberty (American Psychological Association, 2013).  As depression can also bring up thoughts of self-harm and suicide, safety can also be a concern for children and teens with depression. Dealing with these issues can be daunting for a parent, and so the team at Variations Psychology is here to help. 

What are some of the warning signs and symptoms of childhood depression?

Symptoms of a depressive disorder may include (DSM-5):

  • Persistent sadness, feeling “down,” or solemn mood

  • Irritability or anger

  • Decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities

  • Changes in sleep behavior (sleeping more, sleeping less, increased tiredness)

  • Fatigue or low energy

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Thoughts of death or ending one’s life

  • If you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, or dial 911 to receive immediate support

  • Thoughts of self-harm

If you notice any of these in your child or teen, please contact Variations Psychology today.  Using evidence-based practices for treating childhood depression, our specialists will design a treatment plan that will help your child heal.  With proper support and treatment, your child can overcome their depressive symptoms and regain control.  

Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common diagnoses for children and teens, and the symptoms can be devastating to social and academic functioning (Higa-McMillan, Francis, Rith-Najarian, & Chorpita, 2016). Anxiety can be a natural response to life stress, but left untreated it can cause exaggerated or heightened emotional responses.  These anxious reactions can cause children to avoid settings and activities, such as wanting to stay home from school or avoid conversation.  This may also make it difficult for the child to be comforted by the parent (Children and Teens, 2017), and so having extra support can be helpful.  

How can parents notice warning signs of an anxiety disorder?     

Symptoms of anxiety may include (DSM-5):

  • Excessive nervousness or worry

  • Feelings of fear or worry are difficult to control

  • Avoidance of certain situations (school, play, etc.)

  • Becoming easily fatigued

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Sleep difficulty

  • Irritability

Notice the similarities between anxiety and depression in children and teens.  As these issues tend to overlap, finding professional help can be essential for restoring emotional health. Psychotherapy is the first line of treatment for anxiety (DSM-5), as therapy can be helpful for giving the patient skills to overcome anxious feelings and avoid worsening of symptoms.  The team at Variations Psychology has expertise in detecting and treating anxiety and depression, and we are eager to help you and your family get back on track!

How Can Variations Psychology Help?

Pediatric depression and anxiety are challenging to face.  At Variations Psychology, we can help you support your child or teen by providing them with evidence-based treatment with a licensed therapist.  Together, we can help your child feel healthier and live better.

Our team is composed of specialists in the areas of Clinical Psychology, School and Educational Psychology, Child Development, and Psychological and Educational Testing. The experience and training of the team hosts a group of professionals that are ready to connect with you and provide specialized services tailored to your needs. These include individual therapy, family therapy, play therapy, IEP consultation, and psychological assessment.  

Within the therapy domain, we have providers who specialize in women’s issues, parent-child interactions, child development, and education. We tailor treatment to what you need and what you are hoping to improve as a result of therapy. 

At Variations Psychology, we believe your child has the tools to change their life.  Our solution-based approach is designed to produce results and quickly get your child back on track.

Schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today! We are eager to connect with you. 

Interested in Therapy? Connect with Us!

If you are interested in therapy services, please contact us. We would love to talk with you and discuss what therapy could look like for you. 

Schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today!

More about Variations Psychology

Do you want to know more about us?

Take a look at our Specialists page and learn more about what we do. 

We are based in Newport Beach, California and love to connect with our community. We cannot wait to meet you. 

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental

disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Anxiety. (2017). Mayo Clinic. 

Depression. (2017). Anxiety and Depression Association of America. 

Mental Health by the Numbers. (2017). National Alliance on Mental Illness. 

Möller, H., Bandelow, B., Volz, H., Barnikol, U. B., Seifritz, E., & Kasper, S. (2016). The relevance of ‘mixed anxiety and depression’ as a diagnostic category in clinical practice. European Archives of Psychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience, 266, 725-736.