Teens can already be naturally surly, moody, obstinate, and down just because they are teenagers. So it may be difficult to identify the signs that a teenager is depressed. But it is vital that parents learn to understand and identify the signs and symptoms of teen depression. One of the best things parents can do is to keep a strong, clear line of communication with your teen. Simply talking about the problem of depression and even offering helpful advice can really help in this situation.
Make Sure You Understand the Basics of Teen Depression
The teen years are already tough for kids even in the best circumstances even with good peer relationships, excellent grades, and success in extracurricular activities. Teens are experts at balancing the typical pressures and angst with other more positive aspects of their lives. This makes it difficult to understand teen depression. Bad moods and sadness are expected some of the time, but depression is different. Learn the signs and symptoms of teen depression and find out what to do if you see these signs.
Depression has the ability to literally destroy the foundational personality of a teenager causing extreme anger, sadness, or overwhelming despair. Depression is more than just the occasional bad mood or temper tantrum. Depression is a debilitating condition that takes over the very essence of a teen’s personality. Even worse, teens don’t typically know where to get help, or even know they need help with depression. It’s vital that the adults close to teens look for the signs of depression and assist them in getting help.
How Teen Depression Affects Your Teen
Teen depression affects more than just the mood of a teenager. Depression can make a teen feel unattractive, unworthy, or make them feel like they’re a failure. Teens who are depressed may use drugs and alcohol to “self medicate” in order to make themselves feel better. Eating disorders can also affect the normal everyday life of a depressed teen.
Another effect of depression in teens is trying to escape from problems or reality by using a computer or computer gaming system excessively. This can lead to more feelings of isolation, unworthiness, and feelings of failure or inability to cope in the real world. Depressed teens may also engage in self-mutilation, cutting, branding, or burning which all have lasting physical effects. The effects of teen depression can be long-lasting, profound, and even permanent. Any or all of these may determine what sort of person a teen will become in the future.
Some Signs and Symptoms Your Teen May be Depressed
• Excessive drug or alcohol abuse.
• High-risk behaviors like unsafe sex, out-of-control drinking, or reckless driving
• Self-hatred, feelings of unworthiness, excessively violent behavior
• Difficulty concentrating or low energy affecting school attendance or grades
• Bulimia, Anorexia, binge-eating, and even yo-yo dieting
• Going online or excessive computer use to escape problems
• Talking about suicide to get attention of others
• Branding, cutting, or other types of self-mutilation
• Unexplained aches and pains
• Over-sensitivity to criticism
• Withdrawing from family or some people, but not all people
• Sadness or a feeling of hopelessness
• Frequent Crying
• Loss of interest in activities
Learn to identify the signs and symptoms of teen depression and be ready to offer help to a teen in your life who may be depressed. If depressed teens do not get proper help and treatment, the effects can be serious, even causing irreversible damage. It’s hard to forget the effects that the Columbine incident had, and still have, on folks today. If you see the signs and symptoms of depression in a teenager, don’t just sit back and ignore it. Take time to get involved and help teens get the proper guidance and assistance.
The information in this article is not meant to be a substitute for the guidance and counsel of a medical, psychiatric, or psychological professional.
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