Teenagers are susceptible to depression due to the numerous pressures from their peers and the society. Changes during puberty, or lack of, may cause insecurities to the teenagers. The struggle to find their place in the society or their personal identity may lead to frustrations and eventually depression. While depression can be treated, the problem is that teenagers are guarded and will often prefer not to let their parents or teachers into their personal battles. It is, therefore quite important for the parents or guardians to understand teen depression as this helps them deal with their children.
Signs and Symptoms of Teen Depression
Teenagers have to rely on adults around them when they are suffering from depression. They will, however, not be as open about depression and it is up to the adults in their life to identify the signs and symptoms of depression and help them. The following are the symptoms of depression in teens.
· Sadness or hopelessness
· Restlessness and agitation
· Withdrawal from friends and family
· Tearfulness or frequent crying
· Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
· Loss of interest in activities
· Irritability, anger, or hostility
· Sudden poor school performance
· Difficulty concentrating
· Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
· Fatigue or lack of energy
· Unexplained aches and pains
· Changes in eating and sleeping habits
· Thoughts of death or suicide
Suicidal thoughts are especially common with severely depressed teens. They will talk or joke about committing suicide or death. Do not ignore it if the teens in your life start getting involved with reckless accidents that result in injury. Get help at the suicide prevention and support, IASP or Suicide.org.
Helping Depressed Teens
Depression can be damaging and even life-threatening among adolescents. Do not, therefore, try to ignore the matter. The challenge for many parents and caregivers is how to address the problem with their otherwise detached teenagers. To communicate effectively with a depressed teen, you have to listen and not lecture or judge them. Acknowledge their feelings and concerns. Be gentle with them without losing the persistence.
Depression causes anybody to disconnect from their social life. This will, however, make the matter worse. Encourage the teens to get involved in activities. Try and encourage them to volunteer as this will boost their self-esteem. Even more importantly, be there for them every day. Talk with them face-to-face without distractions.
Getting them physically active can also help them beat depression. Provide nutritious and balanced meals for optimum mood support and brain health. Encouraging exercises will boost their mental health. Limit their screen time and encourage about 9-10 hours of sleep every night. If the depression is severe, seek a psychologist or psychiatrist help.
Depression in teenagers is a big concern because they may not even be aware of the symptoms of depression. In other cases, depression is dismissed in teens as typical adolescent behaviors. While the signs are many, irritability, anger, and agitation are the signs that you should be on the lookout for If personality, mood, or behavior changes persistently, you need to take the issue more seriously.