Adolescent depression is one of the concerns of many parents when their children are growing up. Therefore, in this article, we have tried to examine the signs and symptoms of teenage depression so that you can help your child in the best way with their help.
Understanding adolescent depression
Adolescence can be very difficult. In many cases, teenage depression is much more common than we think. Because this disease strongly affects the person at this age.
In fact, it has been estimated that one out of every five teenagers from all walks of life will experience depression at some point in their teens. However, while depression is completely treatable, most depressed teens never seek help.
Adolescent depression is a state beyond their bad mood. It is a serious mental health problem that affects every aspect of a teenager’s life.
Fortunately, depression is treatable and parents can help their child in this field. Love, guidance and support of teenagers can help him to a great extent to overcome depression and bring his life back to the right stage.
Is my teenager suffering from depression?
Although temper tantrums and misbehavior are sometimes to be expected during adolescence, teenage depression is something else. The negative effects of depression in adolescence go far beyond a melancholic mood.
Depression can destroy the essence of your teenage personality and make you feel sad, hopeless or angry. Many rebellious and unhealthy behaviors or attitudes in teenagers can be a sign of depression. The following are some of the emotional discharge methods for teenagers to try to deal with their emotional pain:
- causing trouble at school: Depression can cause problems with lack of energy and concentration. At school, this may lead to poor alertness, lower grades, or frustration with schoolwork in a student with a positive record.
- Escape and escape: Many depressed teenagers run away from home or talk about running away. Such attempts are usually a cry for help.
- Drug and alcohol abuse: Teens may use alcohol or drugs in an attempt to self-medicate depression. Unfortunately, drug abuse only makes things worse.
- low self-esteem: Adolescent depression can provoke and intensify feelings of ugliness, shame, failure, and unworthiness.
- Addiction to smartphones: Teenagers may resort to social networks to escape their problems. But excessive use of smartphones and the Internet only makes them more isolated and depressed.
- reckless behavior: Depressed teenagers may engage in dangerous or high-risk behaviors such as reckless driving, excessive drinking, and risky sex.
- Violence: Some depressed teenagers may become aggressive and violent.
Adolescent depression is also associated with a number of other mental health problems, including eating disorders and self-harm. While depression can cause great pain for your teen and disrupt daily family life, there are many things you can do to help your child recover from these feelings. So the first step is to learn what teen depression is and what to do if you see warning signs.
Signs and symptoms of adolescent depression
Unlike adults who have the ability to seek help on their own, adolescents rely only on their parents, teachers or other caregivers to recognize their suffering and get them the help they need.
But this is not always easy. First, depressed teenagers don’t necessarily look sad. Instead, the most prominent symptoms may include irritability, anger, and agitation. Other symptoms of teenage depression include the following:
-Sadness or disappointment
-Irritability, anger or rage
-Withdrawal from friends and family
-Loss of interest in participating in activities
-Poor performance in school
-Changes in eating and sleeping habits
-Restlessness and irritability
-Feeling worthless and guilty
-Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
-Fatigue or lack of energy
-Thoughts of death or suicide
Depression in adolescents compared to adults
Depression in teenagers can be very different from depression in adults. The following symptoms are more common in adolescents than in adults:
- Irritable or angry mood: As mentioned, the dominant mood in depressed adolescents is usually irritability rather than sadness. A depressed teen may be moody, violent, frustrated, or prone to outbursts.
- Unexplained pains: Depressed teenagers often complain of physical ailments such as headaches or stomachaches. If a complete physical examination does not reveal a medical cause for these pains, it may indicate depression.
- Extreme sensitivity to criticism: Depressed teenagers experience feelings of worthlessness, which makes them very vulnerable to criticism, rejection, and failure. This is a particular problem for “perfectionists”.
- Withdrawal from some, but not all, people: While adults tend to isolate when depressed, teenagers usually keep at least some friends. However, teenagers with depression may socialize less than they used to, withdraw from their parents, or become intimate with another group.
Teenage depression or growing pains?
If you are not sure if your teen is depressed or if it is just a “teen” thing. Note how long the symptoms have lasted, how severe they are, and how much your teen has changed from his usual state.
Hormones and stress sometimes explain teenage tantrums. But the discomfort, lethargy, or irritability is not continuous and unrelenting.
Warning signs of suicide in depressed adolescents
Teens with severe depression, especially those who also abuse alcohol or drugs, often think about, talk about, or attempt suicide.
Meanwhile, an alarming and increasing number of these cases also successfully commit suicide. Therefore, it is very important that you take any suicidal thoughts or behaviors very seriously. Some of the most important of these symptoms are:
-Talking or joking about suicide
-Saying things like: “I’d rather die”, “I wish I could disappear forever” or “There is no way out”.
-Positive or romantic talk about death. Like: “If I died, people might love me more”
-Writing stories and poems about death, dying or suicide
-Engage in reckless behavior or many accidents that result in injury
-Donation of valuable property
-Saying goodbye to friends and family is like seeing them for the last time
-Looking for guns, pills or other ways to commit suicide
How to help a depressed teenager?
Depression is very damaging if left untreated. So don’t wait for the worrisome symptoms to disappear on their own. If you suspect that your teen is depressed. Discuss your concerns with them in a loving, non-judgmental way.
Even if you’re not sure their problem is depression, the behaviors and feelings you’re seeing indicate problems that need to be addressed. Therefore, it is better to start a conversation and let your teenager know that you have noticed some symptoms of depression in him and that these symptoms are worrying you.
Then ask your child to share with you what he experienced. Be really ready and willing to hear it. Avoid asking too many questions. Because most teenagers don’t like to feel controlled or pressured. But make it clear that you are ready and willing to give them whatever support they need.
How to communicate with a depressed teenager?
1) Focus on listening, not lecturing
Once your teen starts talking, resist any criticism or judgment. The important thing is that your child is communicating. If you tell your teenager that you are completely and unconditionally by his side, you have done the best thing.
2) Be gentle but persistent
Don’t give up if they avoid talking to you at first. Talking about depression can be very difficult for teenagers. Even if they are willing to talk, they may have trouble expressing what they feel. Respect your child’s comfort while emphasizing your concern and willingness to listen.
3) Acknowledge their feelings
Try talking to your teen about depression, even if his feelings or concerns seem silly or irrational to you. Well-meaning attempts to explain why “it’s not that bad” will come across as if you don’t take their feelings seriously. Simply acknowledging the pain and sadness they are experiencing can go a long way in understanding and supporting them.
4) Trust your instinct
If your teen claims there is no problem. But there is no explanation for the cause of this depression, you have to trust your instinct. If the teen won’t talk to you, turn to a trusted third party. A school counselor, favorite teacher, or a psychologist or psychiatrist. The important thing is to get them to talk to someone.
– Coping with adolescent depression: encourage them to socialize
- Depressed teenagers tend to withdraw from friends and activities they used to enjoy. But isolation only makes depression worse. So do what you can to help your teen reconnect.
- Prioritize face-to-face communication
- Set aside time each day to talk. During this conversation, you should focus completely on your teen without distractions or trying to multitask. The simple act of talking face to face can play an important role in reducing your teen’s depression. Remember that talking about your teen’s depression or feelings won’t make things worse. But your support can make a big difference in their recovery.
- Fight social isolation
- What you can do to keep your teen connected. Encourage them to go out with their friends or invite their friends over. Participate in activities that meet other families and give your child a chance to meet and interact with other children.
- Get your teen involved
- Suggest activities such as sports, an after-school club, or a dance or music arts class that spark your teen’s interests and talents. Although your teen may lack motivation and interest at first, they will feel better and regain their enthusiasm.
- Increase volunteer activities
- Doing good deeds for others is anti-depressant and boosts self-esteem. Help your teen find a job they’re interested in. This causes him to raise his own goal in this work as well. It can be a good emotional bonding experience if you join them in volunteer work.
– Coping with adolescent depression: Prioritize physical health
- Physical and mental health are inextricably linked
- Depression increases due to inactivity, insufficient sleep and improper nutrition. Unfortunately, teenagers are known for having unhealthy habits. Staying up late, eating food with low nutritional value and spending hours on smartphones are among these unhealthy habits. But you, as their parents, can combat these behaviors by creating a healthy and supportive environment at home.
- Give your teenager exercise!
- Exercise is absolutely essential for mental health. So engage your teenager in activities. Ideally, teenagers should be physically active for at least one hour a day. But there is no need for this activity to be boring and without excitement. Think differently. Dancing, shooting, walking, cycling, skateboarding and other activities are useful in this regard.
- Set limits for screen usage
- Teenagers often enter cyberspace to escape their problems. But as time increases, physical activity and time spent with friends decrease. Both are factors in worsening symptoms.
- Prepare nutritious and balanced meals
- Make sure your teen is getting the nutrition they need to support optimal brain and mood health. Things like healthy fats, quality proteins and fresh produce. For many depressed teenagers, eating too many sugary and starchy foods will only have a negative effect on their mood and energy.
- Encourage them to sleep more
- Teenagers need about 9-10 hours of sleep a night for their optimal performance more than adults. Make sure your teen doesn’t stay up late and gets the rest she needs to relax.
– Coping with adolescent depression: Know when you should seek help from experts
Support and healthy lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in depressed teens. But this is not always enough. When depression is severe, seek the help of an experienced mental health professional to treat your teen.
- Give your child a choice in treatment options: Always consider your teen’s choice when choosing a specialist or pursuing treatment options. If you want your teen to be motivated to pursue treatment, don’t ignore her choices, or make unilateral decisions. No therapist is a miracle worker, and no treatment works for everyone. If your child feels uncomfortable or does not connect with a psychologist or psychiatrist, look for a better option.
- Explore your options: Discuss treatment options for your teen with the specialist you have chosen. Talk therapy is often an appropriate initial treatment for mild to moderate depression. During the course of treatment, your teen’s depression may go away. If this is not the case, it may be necessary to use medicine.
Unfortunately, some parents feel compelled to choose antidepressants over other treatment options, which can be expensive and time-consuming. However, you have time to carefully weigh your options unless your child is behaving dangerously or is at risk of suicide. In all cases, antidepressants are effective when they are part of a broader treatment plan.
Antidepressants were designed and tested on adults, so their effects on young, developing brains are not yet fully understood. Some researchers worry that exposure to antidepressants may interfere with normal brain development, particularly the brain’s control of stress and emotion regulation.
Antidepressants also carry risks and side effects, including safety concerns for children and adults. It has also been found to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in some teenagers and young adults. Especially teenagers with bipolar disorder, people with a family history of bipolar disorder or a history of previous suicide attempts are vulnerable.
The risk of suicide is highest in the first two months of antidepressant treatment. Adolescents taking antidepressants should therefore be closely monitored for any signs of worsening depression. Therefore, it is necessary to contact the doctor if you see these things:
- More new thoughts/talks about suicide
- Suicidal movements or attempts
- New or worsening depression
- New or worsening anxiety
- Irritability or restlessness
- Cases of panic
- trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- New or worsening irritability
- Aggressive, angry, or violent behavior
- Engage in dangerous behaviors
- Hyperactive speech or behavior (manic)
- Other unusual changes in behavior
– Coping with adolescent depression: Support your adolescent through depression treatments
As your depressed teen moves through treatment, the most important thing you can do is let her know you’re there to listen and support her. Now more than ever, your teen needs to know that you value, accept, and care for him.
understand him Living with a depressed teen can be difficult and overwhelming. At times, you may experience feelings of exhaustion, rejection, frustration, deterioration, or other negative emotions. During this time it is important to remember that your child did not choose this behavior on purpose. Your teen is suffering, so do your best to be patient and understanding.
Engage yourself in therapy. Make sure your teen attends counseling sessions. He takes the prescribed medicine correctly and follows all treatment instructions. Track changes in your teen’s condition and call a doctor if depression symptoms worsen.
be patient. Your depressed teen’s road to recovery may be bumpy, so be patient. Rejoice in small victories and prepare for occasional failures. Most importantly, don’t judge yourself and don’t compare your family to others. As long as you do everything you can to get your teen the help he needs, you’re doing your job right.
-Dealing with teenage depression: Take care of yourself and the rest of your family
As a parent, you may find that you focus all of your energy and attention on your depressed teen, neglecting the needs of yourself and the rest of your family. However, it is very important to continue to take care of yourself during these difficult times.
Most importantly, this means getting the support you need. You cannot do everything alone. So get help from your family and friends. Having a support network will help you stay healthy and positive in your efforts to help your child.
Do not suppress your feelings. It’s okay to feel tired, frustrated, helpless, and angry. Reach out to friends, join a support group, or see a therapist. Talking about how you feel helps reduce the intensity of these feelings.
Take care of your health. The stress of your teen’s depression can affect your mood and emotions, so support your health and well-being by eating right, getting enough sleep, and making time for the things you enjoy.
Be honest with the family. Don’t shy away from the issue of teen depression in an effort to “protect” other children. The kids know what’s wrong. When you don’t inform them, their imaginations often lead to worse outcomes. Be honest about what’s going on and encourage your children to ask questions and talk about their feelings.
Don’t forget other children either. Depression in a child can cause stress or anxiety in other family members. So make sure that “healthy” children are not neglected. Siblings may need special individual attention or professional help to deal with their feelings about the situation.
Avoid blaming. It’s easy to blame yourself or another family member for your teen’s depression. But this only leads to a stressful situation. In addition, depression is usually caused by various factors. Therefore, it is unlikely that one of your loved ones is “responsible” for this problem.