How we knew our 11-year-old son was #depressed and how we’re helping him



I’ve spoken about my personal war with depression many times. This time, I thought I would take a few minutes and provide some insight into how we knew that Emmett was struggling with depression, as well as why we decided medication was in his best interest.

Everyone is different, and this is not to be viewed as medical advice or replace seeking help from your doctor.

Emmett is our recently turned 11-year-old. He’s the youngest of our three Autistic kids. He’s been through a great deal in his short life from Gavin’s extreme behavior to the loss of three family members in the last eight months.

Everyone in our house is on at least one medication, and some are on multiple. We take medications very, very seriously, especially when it comes to our kids. Medication can be a tool that helps improve quality of life, but not if it’s irresponsibly used.

Medication is never something we impulsively jump to, but over the years, we’ve learned that it can be a very positive thing.

In Emmett’s case, he just started taking 10mg of Prozac daily for depression.

For a while now, we’ve been worried about him because he was showing signs of depression. Depression can present differently in kids, and so it can be missed if you don’t know what to look for.

Symptoms of Depression

Your child or teen may have some or all of these signs and symptoms of depression:

  • Sadness or feeling irritable
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Weight changes
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Feeling tired a lot
  • Feeling guilty
  • Trouble thinking or paying attention
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

Other symptoms may include hopelessness, anxiety, aches and pains and oppositional behavior (being uncooperative and hostile).

Seattle Children’s Hospital

We noticed mood swings, irritability (more than usual), sleep disturbances, overall sadness, changes in weight, anxiety, excessive worry, loss of interest in things he was previously interested in, and raging. Oh man, the raging is terrible.

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