Teen depression is not the same thing as a young adult going through a mood swing or having a bad day. Depression in adolescents and young adults is a real illness that is often misdiagnosed.
Left untreated, depression can and usually will lead to problems that will manifest in other areas of the teen’s life, eventually leading to larger problems that touch family and friends alike.
Many teens will experience times of anxiety and sadness. Hormones in teens can set off a lot of unexpected chemical changes within the body. But when symptoms of depression do not go away and the mood swings seem to last longer than a couple of weeks, this could be the onset of clinical depression.
Clinical depression in anyone is serious enough to take notice but can be more difficult to recognize in teens because of the hormonal changes that are also taking place.
Girl Some recent studies have shown that teen girls are twice as likely to experience depression as teen boys.
Recent research has also shown that some forms of teen depression are linked to genetics, but, not everyone who is diagnosed with depression has a family history of depression.
Symptoms of Teen Depression
Some of the signs of teen depression are:
Feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
Loss of interest in food, or overeating.
Fatigue, listlessness or insomnia.
Headaches, back pain, and general physical pain.
The inability to concentrate.
Indifference about personal health or hygiene.
Preoccupation with suicidal thoughts and/or acting out risky behavior.
These warning signs alone do not necessarily spell teen depression. But these signs do indicate that depression could be present and that the person experiencing any of these symptoms should be checked.
When the warning signs of teen depression are not recognized or are ignored, suicide becomes a real possibility, when depression is left untreated. The teen suicide rate in the United States over the last few years has reached proportions never seen before. Over half a million teens attempt to end their lives every year. More than 5,000 teenagers do succeed at suicide each year.
There are warning signs of teen suicide to be aware of:
Verbal threats of committing suicide.
Expressions of hopelessness.
Losing interest in his or her own life.
Planning out his or her death. Making wills, giving away personal possessions.
The sense that he or she has given up.
Treating Teen Depression
The first consideration for depression is proper diagnosis of the disease before treatment can begin. Depending on the severity of the depression, treatment could be a combination of therapy and/or anti-depressants.
It is important for parents to establish good communication with the teen that is experiencing depression. Teens who are suffering from depression need as much trust and emotional support during this time as possible. At all times during treatment, it is important that the parents are active in the treatment process, as much as they can be supportive. It’s very important to keep in mind that left untreated, depression will not simply go away on its own. Left untreated, clinical depression can give rise to lower self-esteem, deeper feelings of failure and worthlessness, eating disorders, low energy levels, substance abuse, self-mutilation and possible suicide.
Teen depression is very treatable under the right supervision. Don’t wait for your teen to come to you to talk about it. If you feel your child is suffering from depression, do something about it now before it’s too late.