Depression in boys is often not as severe as what hits adult males when they encounter symptoms of depression. However, childhood and teen depression is unfortunately still high among both boys and girls. Depression in boys is more than just the typical blue days everyone experiences.
Depression can be found in just about anyone including boys. Depression in boys usually happens when something significant or severely detrimental occurs in a boy or teen male’s life. Just because a child acts sad one day does not mean they are depressed. However, depressed boys and teens will often show signs of prolonged sadness and even disruptive behavior as a way to cope with this mental and emotional pain. The symptoms of depression in boys changes depending on the child and why they are in particularly feeling depressed. Some depression in boys is caused by problems in the family or at home. Many children who have lost a parent or close family member might become depressed. Boys and girls in foster care often exhibit depression symptoms because of the instability of their upbringing and home life. Many younger children exhibit symptoms of depression through acting out or showing angry behaviors. Depression in boys and younger children and teens often goes undiagnosed and is never even recognized until the symptoms are shown more steadily toward their older teen and adult years. Many of these situations go undiagnosed because so many children are consistently experiencing hormonal and emotional changes as they grow and develop. Unfortunately this is considered “masked depression” and the symptoms are not as readily apparent in young children and teens.
Some of the signs and symptoms of depression in boys include irritability and anger, continuous feelings of sadness, loneliness, social withdrawal, changes in appetite, vocal outbursts, excessive crying, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and low energy physical complaints like headache and stomach ache, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, thoughts of death or suicide. While it may be difficult to believe, depression in boys can lead to cases of self-harm and even suicide. While not nearly as common as older teens and adults, some depression in boys can hit excessive highs leaving the young boys and male teens to wonder where they can go to deal with their pain especially when the pain is confusing or goes unnoticed.
Not all children or boys with depression will even exhibit these symptoms. Many will at different points in their development. It is important to note that most depression in boys will lead to cases with poor academic performance or a change in appearance. In some cases with depression in boys, the young men will be more likely to experiment with drugs or alcohol. This is especially common in depressed boys over the age of 12. Depression in boys is also more common when there is family history of violence and depression with parents, grandparents, etc. According to current depression statistics, about 2.5 children in the United States suffer from depression. However, it is more common in boys under the age of 10, but become more common in girls once they reach the teen years.
It is up to a mental health professional to determine whether or not the signs a boy might be showing are actually signs of depression. If the mental health professional is able to determine whether or not the boy or teen is in fact suffering from depression, it is time to get treatment. In all cases with depression, getting help early is the best and most effective treatment. When it comes to treatment options, therapy with a child psychologist or a mental health care provider that is trained in dealing with cases of depression in boys and children, is a great way to help your child recover from this early onset of a mental illness. Some children, depending on age, might be prescribed with an antidepressant. However, it is important to be weary of antidepressants for children. In many different types of this medication, boys and girls can react negatively to it and it might even make the depression symptoms worsen. However, certain types have been recognized by the FDA as safe and effective in treating depression in boys and girls over age 8 and up.
Careful monitoring needs to be done with children who have depression especially if they are on antidepressants. It is important to be sure they are not making the symptoms worse. If there are any issues with the medication, it is important to consult a doctor or mental health care provider immediately.