There can be a number of reasons why your teen might be suffering from depression or anxiety. It may be due to school performance, sexual orientation, social status with friends or even family life. All of these reasons can majorly affect your teenager’s feelings. But whatever the reason may be, in case the friends, family or other things that your teen enjoys doing, do not help improve his sadness, there is a good chance that he/she may be suffering from depression.
Talking about anxiety, about 1 in 5 young people suffer from anxiety. While some people get it a lot, others get it a little less but, in any case, we all suffer from anxiety at some point in our lives. If your teen suffers from anxiety, he/he may feel:
- Panic that may seem to come from nowhere
- Worried, fearful
- Dread as if something bad may happen
- Feel separate to their physical self
Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression and Anxiety
Symptoms of Teen Depression
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
- Inappropriate guilt
- Difficulty making decisions
- Preoccupation with death and dying
- Rebellious behaviour
- Withdrawal from friends
- Sudden drop in grades
- Loss of interest in food or compulsive overeating
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Complaints of pain
Can Teen Depression Run in Families?
Yes, depression can sometimes run in families. It usually starts between the ages of 15 and 30 and is said to be more common among those who have a family history of depression.
How is it Diagnosed?
Interviews and psychological tests may be conducted with the teenager, his/her friends, family members and teachers. The healthcare professionals assess the severity of depression based on these tests as well as the treatment recommendations are made on the basis of collected data.
In addition to this, the doctor will assess the teenager for risk of suicidal or homicidal features. It has been found that there are higher incidences of attempted suicide in females as compared to males whereas that of completed suicide is higher in males.
Can it Be Treated?
Yes, medications and psychotherapy are few among the variety of methods used to treat depression. However, family support as well as the support from teachers and friends is essential in improving the condition. Although rare but hospitalization in a psychiatric unit may be required for teenagers with severe depression.
Can Teenagers Be Prescribed Antidepressants?
It is very rare that antidepressants can increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behaviour in children or teenagers with depression, as warned by the FDA. Therefore, the use of antidepressants in younger patients requires close monitoring by the treating doctor.
Warning Signs for Teen Suicide?
In the U.S., the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults is adolescent suicide. Loss of loved one, family difficulties or perceived failures at school can all contribute to negative feelings and further depression. There can be a few warning signs of suicide with teen depression:
- Threatening to kill one’s self.
- Giving up on one’s self
- Expressing hopelessness for the future
- Preparing for death
- Use of drugs or alcohol as a relief method from their mental anguish.
What can you do to Alleviate Teen Depression and Anxiety?
There can be a few ways that can help your teen to lower the stress level. These are as given below:
- Do not be overprotective. Allow your teenager to make mistakes. You making decisions for them may be perceived as a lack of faith in their abilities and that will make them feel less confident about themselves.
- Do not always expect them to do what you want them to.
- Replacing punishment with positive reinforcement will actually lead to a good behaviour. Shame or punishment can otherwise make them feel worthless.
- In case you feel your child is depressed, talk to them about what they feel. Even if you feel the problem is of no real concern, just remember that it is real for someone who is growing up.
- You cannot force them to follow a path that you wanted to, in your teen years. set them free when it comes to their choices.
- Your child may not always feel like talking to you and that’s okay. Make them believe that you are there for them whenever they would want to talk.
- You can suggest your teen to talk to someone openly, who you feel they are close to. That can be a family member or a friend who they are comfortable with.
Of course, it may take some time for your teenager to get over depression or anxiety. At some point, one may also feel like everything they do or think of shifts to negativity but just remember, all that a teen wants at that time is love from the people around them and especially the parents.