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What To Do About Anxiety and Depression in Children

Get the facts about childhood anxiety and depression. 

With all the stressors in the world today, we often think about how they impact us, but we don’t realize how they are also affecting our children. From covid to school shootings, we understand the toll these life-changing issues can have on children and teens. If you recognize the signs of anxiety and depression in your little one, our Brookfield and Addison, IL, pediatrician Dr. Walter Perez and the A to Z Pediatric and Youth Healthcare team are here to help.

What are the signs of anxiety in children?

A true anxiety disorder is visible when a child’s fear, worries or obsessions do not go away and begin to impact everything from academic performance to social lives. Signs of anxiety include,

  • Being afraid of a specific thing or object such as needles or dogs (also known as a phobia)
  • Being afraid of school, peers or being around others
  • Fearful of the future or worried that bad things are going to happen
  • Afraid to be away from family, particularly parents (also known as separation anxiety)
  • Physical symptoms of anxiety may include shaking, dizziness, breaking out into a sweat or difficulty breathing

How can I tell if my child is depressed? 

While it’s normal to feel sad or upset at times, if your child regularly feels hopeless or sad, this could be a sign of depression. Other symptoms of depression in children include,

  • Overeating or not having an appetite
  • Changes in sleeping patterns such as sleeping too much or not getting enough sleep
  • Lack of energy; sluggishness
  • Trouble paying attention
  • Self-harm or destructive behaviors

If your child’s displaying these symptoms for two weeks or more, it’s time to call our Brookfield and Addison, IL, office for an evaluation.

What are strategies to help my anxious or depressed child? 

The best thing you can do is provide your little ones with a safe space to share and express their emotions and feelings without judgment. Let them know that they can talk to you about anything they feel. Supporting a child with anxiety or depression may look like,

  • Listening to your child
  • Encourage open conversations and honest dialogues about feeling
  • Spending more quality time with your child doing what they love to do
  • Let your child come to you, don’t push them to talk if they don’t want to
  • Encouraging a regular sleep schedule, healthy eating and daily exercise
  • Encourage play dates and socializing, especially if your child is feeling isolated
  • Having your child go to certain social events or join clubs to make more friends and find a support network

Dr. Perez and our Brookfield and Addison, IL, team can provide your child with recommendations, advice, support and referrals to mental health professionals to help them better manage their anxiety and depression. Call A to Z Pediatric and Youth Healthcare at (708) 905-5993 or (630) 757-4010 to schedule a consultation with us.

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