Anxiety & Depression


Anxiety in children arises when they are unable to understand their fears and outgrow them leading to them worrying too much about these fears and consequently interfering with their normal day to day activities such as school, play or sleep.

Examples of anxiety disorders:

Separation anxietyAfraid of being left by their parents.

Social anxietyScared of places with relatively large numbers of people such as school or the mall.

PhobiasUnreasonable and extreme fear about certain things or circumstances such as heights.

Panic disordersAttacks of intense fear especially when faced with challenging situations that come with symptoms such sweating, difficulty breathing, and heart pounding. 

General anxietyNon-specific worries about various aspects of their life.


This is an intense and persistent feeling of hopelessness and sadness with a general negative outlook on life.

Symptoms of depression:

  • Often the child feels irritable, hopeless, or sad.
  • Unwilling to participate in outdoor or fun activities.
  • Change in eating habits, either an increase in the decrease in the amount consumed.
  • The child is tired and restless most of the time.
  • Signs of self-harm or self-destructive behaviour.
  • Poor concentration especially in school.

There is a strong genetic component to depression. The condition is more common among kids with a family history of depression or in families where depression and anxiety are common.  Stress plays a key role in the start of depression. It can also cause your child’s symptoms to continue. Stress comes in all shapes and sizes and might include:

  • School pressures
  • Problems with peers
  • Family conflict
  • Pressures of adolescence (moving from one class to the other, romantic relationships, class groupings and pressures of youth.

The changes that take place during puberty put children at greater risk of having depression and anxiety. They are likely to react more emotionally due to their stage of brain development and the fact that they don’t have effective problem-solving skills yet.

Some very young children seem to be at risk of depression. For these children, it is likely a combination of a genetic risk, temperament and difficulty getting involved and enjoying activities.  Remember that anxiety in children can be part of a spectrum of diseases such as ASD or ADHD. It is therefore important that you visit us as soon as you notice any changes to your child’s moods.


It should be made by a mental health specialist after taking a thorough history from the parent and doing a comprehensive psychological evaluation of the child.


Behaviour therapy that includes family therapy, child therapy, or a combination of both is beneficial in helping a child overcome the anxiety and depression as well as deal with the symptoms.  Cognitive behavioural therapy is effective especially for older children. It involves teaching a child to perceive differently their previous experiences and current environment differently.  A psychiatrist or a Paediatrician can prescribe some medication for anxiety and depression.

Book an appointment with our Paediatricians and Psychologist at Kids Health Space for multidisciplinary team management.