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Mood Disorders Going Undetected in U.S. Children


  • Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.
  • Loss of self-confidence.
  • Weight changes. Younger kids may develop a poor appetite and lose weight, and older ones may eat more and gain.
  • Different sleep habits -- either sleeping more or less than usual.
  • Unusual bouts of anger.
  • Headaches or stomachaches.

Signs of general anxiety in youngsters, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, include:

  • Unrealistic worry about everyday activities, including academics, sports and leisure-time plans.
  • Increased self-consciousness.
  • Extreme need to please others.
  • Low self-esteem and the need for frequent reassurance.
  • Self-doubt and being highly critical of themselves.
  • Stomachaches and pains that seem to have no physical cause.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about depression in children and teens.

SOURCES: Jon Shaw, M.D., professor and director, child and adolescent psychiatry, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami; Scott Benson, M.D., child and adolescent psychiatrist, Pensacola, Fla.

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