Teenagers often get into a bad mood or appear melancholy, but those things are normal. What is not normal, and can manifest itself into a major issue is teenage depression. Depression can lead to serious mental health problems such as substance abuse, self-mutilation, violence, unwanted pregnancy and a host of other serious complexes. As a parent, teacher or friend, you should be concerned and look for ways to help. Just talking over the problem can start the teenager back on the road to recovery.
Understanding teenage depression:
Doubtless the teen years are tough years. Most teens manage to balance their friendships, success in school and other outside activities and personal development. Occasional bad moods and outbursts are all part of it and can be expected. Depression, however, is a totally different story; it can destroy the teen’s personality and be the cause of an overwhelming sense of despair and anger.
It may be that teenage depression is something that more and more people are becoming aware of, or it may be that it is becoming more prevalent. Whatever it is, the fact is, teenage depression happens far more often than most people think.
Depression is a mental health problem that can be treated, unfortunately, less than 5% of teenagers who suffer depression get help. Adults are capable of seeking help for themselves; teenagers have not yet reached the point where they can do this, they rely upon their parents to recognize the suffering and seek the treatment that the child needs.
Signs and symptoms of teenage depression:
Teenagers today face mounting pressures, the age-old issues of puberty to questions about whom they are and where do they fit into the picture. As a child ages, there will be more conflict with parents and other authority figures as they become more independent. At times, it is difficult to differentiate between mood swings and depression and to make things even more difficult; teen depression does not necessarily show up as unhappiness, nor is the teen withdrawn. In many cases, the symptoms are rage, irritability and aggression.
In trying to determine if your teenager is depressed or simply being a typical teenager, consider how long the symptoms have been present. Furthermore, take into account how bad the symptoms are and how different he acts from the norm.
Effects of teenage depression:
Depression in teens is often rebellion and behavior not considered healthy. These are far more than a melancholy mood. To cope with their depression, teens often act in certain predictable ways.
- School problems: Low energy and poor concentration
- Running away: Talk of running away is a cry for help
- Substance abuse: an attempt to self-medicate their feelings of depression
- Low self-esteem: Intensity of feelings of failure, shame and being unworthy
- Addiction to the Internet: In an attempt to escape their problems, they spend an excessive amount of time on-line
Teen depression will often be coupled with problems of over-eating and self-injury. If you suspect that your teenager is suffering from depression, seek professional help as soon as possible.
Teenage depression is a treatable mental health condition. Cedar Hills Hospital provides mental health and chemical dependency care which provides a positive outcome for their patients.