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Depression Among Teens

9 Apr

There are a lot of times during the teenage years when teens become moody, overwhelmed, or really sad.  While these feelings are not necessarily depression, they can certainly lead to it.  Depression is a very serious problem for teens, affecting all aspects of their life and can lead to other very serious problems.

Untreated depression in teens can lead to problems at school, running away, substance abuse, low self-esteem, eating disorders, internet addiction, self-injury, reckless behavior, violence, and suicide.   It is important for adults to be involved in their teens lives and to recognize the signs and symptoms of teen depression so that they can help them get help.  To find out more about teen depression visit Helpguide.org.  These are some signs and symptoms their website lists for depression:

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION IN TEENS
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Probably the most heartbreaking effect of teen depression is suicide.  It is very important to address issues of depression that teens may be feeling (no matter how mild they may seem) to avert this tragedy.   To learn more about suicide prevention and warning signs visit here.

For parents:

If you think your teen is suffering from depression it is important to take action immediately and share your genuine concern for them.  Four things to keep in mind while talking to your teen are: (1) offer support, (2) be gentle and persistent, (3) listen without lecture, and (4) validate their feelings. After talking to your teen you next step should be to set up an appoint with a doctor and consider treatment options.  While medication is valid and sometimes needed, it is important to consider all options and to avoid relying on medication alone.  Especially with teens, antidepressant medication can be very dangers.  While your teen is in treatment for their depression it is very important to be understanding and help them also understand their own depression.  Encourage your teen to participate in physical and social activities, these can help your teens find something to focus their energy on.