If you were going to describe the standard teenager, you might say ‘moody’. Teenagers seem to feel things way more intensely than us adults, and experience exhilarating emotional highs with crashing lows. However, being depressed is a different matter altogether. It isn’t just about being moody – it’s a mood disorder, and a serious mental health condition. People often think that teens can’t get mood disorders like depression and bipolar, but the sad truth is that they can. If you’d like to be able to spot depression in your child, read on:
Image taken from flickr
The fact of the matter is, the average age of depression is 14 year old. By the end of their teen years, around 20% of teens will have depression. Over 70% of teens with depression will be able to overcome it with therapy and medication, so it’s important that it’s addressed.
The following are some of the symptoms to look out for when looking for depression. If these symptoms last a couple of weeks or more, it could be depression:
- Writing about death, giving away their belongings, and comments similar to ‘you’re better off without me’.
- Complaints of physical pain.
- Poor performance at school or college.
- Critical comments about themselves and behaviour problems.
- Loss of energy, social withdrawal, boredom, and withdrawal from their usual activities.
- Slowness, physical agitation, pacing back and forth or repetitive behaviour.
- Excessive late night activity, too much/too little sleep, trouble getting up in the morning.
- Weight gain or weight loss.
- Withdrawal from friends and family.
- Irritable, sad, empty moods and the belief that life is meaningless.
Now, try not to worry too much if your child is displaying the above behaviour. Much of the behaviour above can be considered normal for a teen. If you suspect your teen may have depression or bipolar, then you need to take them to see a health or mental health professional to be sure.
This condition commonly runs in families, and may be triggered by a stressful life event. This isn’t something to be ashamed of, it should simply be treated as soon as possible. Take a look at this site for more useful information on depression in teens.
Some of the effects of teen depression include:
- Problems at school.
- Running away from home.
- Drug and alcohol abuse.
- Low self esteem.
- Internet addiction.
- Reckless behaviour.
Warning Signs to Look Out for:
- Talking or making jokes about suicide.
- Saying things like, ‘there’s no way out’ and, ‘I’d be better off dead’.
- Writing stories or songs about death, dying, or suicide.
- Saying goodbye to friends and family for the last time.
- Looking for weapons/pills.
If you suspect your teen may be depressed, you need to speak up right away. Even if you’re unsure, whatever the issue is, it needs to be addressed. Make sure you share your concerns with your teen in a loving, non-judgmental way, and let them know why things are worrying you. Encourage them to share what they’re going through. Always trust your instincts, even if your teen claims that nothing is wrong…denial is a strong emotion.
Thanks for reading!