Overcoming Great Sadness: A Parent’s Guide To Spotting Teen Depression

Adolescence is a tough time filled with angst, peer pressure, and hormones. And, during the endless confusing uncertainty, there is also that big, scary question that looms before them: where do I belong in this world?

Adolescents, unfortunately, lack the ability to identify mentally related red flags and seek out help on their own. That is why parents, teachers, family members and friends should learn how to spot the warning signs of teen depression and steer them towards proper mental health treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of Teen Depression

*   The usual signs and symptoms include:
*   Being overwhelmed by hopeless or sad feelings
*   Acting in a hostile, angry or irritable manner
*   Regular bouts of crying or frequent tearfulness
*   Sleep irregularity and decline in eating habits
*   General inability to concentrate
*   Decrease in energy and increase in fatigue
*   Gradual removal from circle of family and friends
*   Complete lack of interest in usual activities
*   Deterioration of school grades
*   Noticeable agitation and nervousness
*   Talking about being worthless
*   General lack of energy and incentive
*   Inexplicable physical aches and pains
*   Repeated thoughts of dying or suicide

Spotting Teen Depression Can Be Difficult

Identifying depression in adolescents can be difficult since the warning signs and symptoms can lead you in opposite directions. For instance, depressed teens usually display agitation, irritability, and anger, as opposed to what is clearly sadness.  Mood swings and acting out are trademarks of the teenage years, but a constant back-and-forth of emotional outbursts, altered personality or unusual behavior are obvious signs of a bigger problem, and should be addressed immediately.

The Importance of Mental and Physical Health

Poor sleeping patterns, improper nutritional habits, and physical inactivity exacerbate depression. Mental and physical health are interconnected, so maintaining healthy lifestyle choices is vital. Parents will need to steer their teens away from the usual junk food binges, late night hangouts and never-ending video game marathons characteristically associated with teenagers.

For more information on mental health treatment, contact Options Family and Behavioral Services, or visit their website at http://www.optionsfamily.com.

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