Depression among teenagers is not just about occasional melancholy and bad moods.I It is indeed a serious issue that can have severe impact on various aspects of a teen’s life. Teen depression can lead to various activities like alcohol and drug abuse, self mutilation, self loathing, violence, pregnancy, and even suicides in many cases.
Adverse Effects of Depression in Teens
The teenage years are like an emotional roller coaster. Just as the happy times, the down times can be extremely sensational for them. A recent survey has shown that many teenagers experience feelings of sadness and depression that are often not recognized and so are left untreated. Also, nine out of every ten adolescents pass through depressing periods that last for a minimum of about two weeks.
Understanding the symptoms of depression
There are several misconceptions regarding depression among teens. Teen depression is not just about plain moodiness but it is a serious mental disorder that brings in suicidal thoughts and weird behavior among adolescents. The teenage years are of course the toughest and most teens try balancing their requisite angst with outdoor activities, success in academics, good friendship, and by building a strong sense of personality. Acting out or having bad moods occasionally is expected, but feeling depressed most of the time is something odd.
Teen depression destroys the very essence of the teenage years and causes an overwhelming sense of despair, sadness, and anger. Recently most teens and young children get diagnosed with severe mood disorders like bipolar disorder, reactive depressions, major depressive disorders, and dysthymic disorders. One of the leading causes of death among teenagers is suicide, which is the long term cause of under treated or untreated depression. Depression when not treated properly leads to academic failure, substance abuse, eating disorders, and bullying.
Symptoms and signs of teen depression
Unlike adults, teenagers do not have the capability to seek assistance all by themselves and so they require support from parents, teachers and friends. Adolescents are often exposed to a host of pressures ranging from puberty, to the confusion where they actually fit in. The transition from a child to an adult often brings parental conflict when the teens start asserting their independence.
With all this drama, it is never easy for the parents to differentiate whether their child is suffering from normal mood swings or from depression. Some of the common symptoms of depression can be difficulty in concentrating, hopelessness, withdrawal from family and friends, frequent crying, hostility, fatigue, agitation or restlessness, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, reckless behavior, changes in sleeping or eating habits, and thoughts of suicide or death in some of the extreme cases of teen depression.
Dealing with teen depression
To be sure about the depression in the teenagers, parents should notice whether any one of the above symptoms are present in their children. If yes, then for how long. The best way to help the teens get out of their depression is offering unconditional and full support. While they begin to open up their problems, parents should resist their urge to pass any judgment or criticize. Also, professional help should be sought if the teen suffers from acute depression and is unwilling to share anything.