Depression is a mental health disorder that affects millions of adults in the United States. This is bad enough but when it comes to teenage depression, the problem becomes far more serious. Most adults can rationalize to a certain degree about symptoms of and treatment for depression but in teenagers, this is difficult to do.
We all know teen years are a time of excitement, discovery, and major change but for approximately 4 of every 100 teenagers it is also a period of coping with depression.
Parents have a huge responsibility when it comes to raising teenagers but when depression is added to the mix, this responsibility takes on an entirely new meaning. There are many challenges associated with this mental health disorder but one particularly concerning is that some teenagers are really good at hiding symptoms of depression. Obviously, this makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible to identify a problem of teenage depression.
Keep in mind that while teenage depression affects both boys and girls, studies show that girls suffer from this disorder at twice the rate as boys do. It is important to know that all teenagers go through times of feeling sad and down but depression is a completely different beast. With the information provided below, parents would find it easier to recognize a potential problem but also understand treatments that could be considered.
Looking for Signs
All parents, even those with happy, high achieving teenagers should be diligent in watching for signs of depression. In many cases, having open communication and spending quality time with a teen can tell a parent a lot but in addition to this, there are distinct signs of teenage depression that parents should learn. The most important thing for a parent to know is that immediate medical and/or mental health care is critical when a teenager is dealing with depression. Sadly, there have been far too many suicides as a result of not getting a child help.
From a doctor’s perspective, a diagnosis of depression would be made if a teenager has any of the symptoms listed below for more than two weeks straight. Of course, if a parent were to notice radical changes or have any concerns about teenage depression whatsoever, it would be imperative to seek immediate help.
- School performance changes
- Overwhelming feeling of anxiety and/or guilt
- Significant change in appetite, whether more or less
- Showing a defiant and/or destructive behavior
- Becoming increasingly isolated and being persistently unhappy
- Change in sleep habits to include sleeping more or not getting enough sleep
- Becoming easily angered and irritated
- Complaining of physical aches and pains
- Having trouble concentrating
- No longer communicating at home, school, and in some cases, with friends
- Expressing a sense of hopelessness
- Reduced energy and extreme fatigue
- Consistently talks about death and/or suicide
Causes of Teenage Depression
Just as it is important to know the symptoms of teenage depression, parents should also take time to learn about possible causes. While there are still many unanswered questions, the following are some of the known factors that lead to depression during teen years.
- Biological Factors
- Cognitive Factors
- Situational Factors (includes parental divorce, death of a loved one, poor school grades, alcohol and/or drug use, mental, physical, and/or emotional abuse, and social rejection/peer pressure)
Seeking Proper Treatment
No matter which of the symptoms of teenage depression a person has or the exact cause, the most critical thing a parent can do is get the child appropriate help. Although an issue of teenage depression is frustrating and frightening, the good news is that medical doctors and mental health professionals now have a much better understanding of this disorder. Because of this, new treatments proven to be safe and effective have been developed. Some of the treatments for teenage depression that are commonly used include the following:
- Psychotherapy – This type of treatment offers teenagers a solution that involves communicating about emotions and feelings, exploring some of the things that are bothersome, and learning coping skills.
- Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy – Experts agree that in treatment teenage depression, it is essential to provide both types of therapies. Together, a teen has the opportunity to make both mental and behavioral changes for the better.
- Interpersonal Therapy – As another type of treatment that has been shown extremely beneficial, interpersonal therapy’s focus is on the development of healthy relationships within the home but also at school.
- Medication – Although some parents shy away from prescription medications, there are certain types of depression, as severe cases that respond best to this type of treatment. A qualified doctor would take everything into consideration so only the safest and lowest dose medication would be used. Of course, adjustments could be made accordingly if needed.
- Self-Help – This type of treatment for teenage depression consists of making better choices in life to better oneself. In the case of a teenager, it would be important for parents to offer full support and encouragement. Some of the specific things involved with self-help include adopting a better diet, getting exercise on a daily basis, avoiding illicit drugs and alcohol, following a healthy sleep schedule, and overall making healthy lifestyle choices.
- Natural Remedies – We also wanted to mention that in certain cases of teenage depression, natural remedies work incredibly well. No matter the delivery system, as long as high quality ingredients are used and in conjunction with other ingredients that reduce symptoms of depression, natural remedies have been shown beneficial for mild to moderate cases.
We hope we wrote clear information about teenage depression.
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