Helping Teens With Depression

2009-01-27

YourTeenager, a UK site devoted to helping teens mentions the warning signs and effects of teenage depression: The symptoms are much the same as moodiness, but you should worry if they remain for a fortnight or longer; that’s much more than a mood.

Depressed teens will have erratic sleep patterns, either sleeping much longer or much less, have no energy or desire to do things, and be edgy or angry much of the time. Their eating habits will change, often just pecking at food (although, conversely, they could also have appetites much heartier than usual), they’ll feel things are bad in their lives and unlikely to improve, have low self-esteem, and they may even entertain fantasies about hurting or killing themselves.

The Effects

Their school work will suffer, with marks and concentration falling rapidly. They might end relationships with friends and turn readily on family members. Their physical health might be affected, with constant tiredness, and they might start using drugs and alcohol to try and feel better. If untreated, severe depression could lead to teens self-harming or committing suicide.

Mental-Health-Matters offers the following advice on how to deal with your teenage son or daughter with depression. Learning to talk to your teen may be your best investment in their mental health. Parents and adults in a teen’s life struggle with this aspect. They often want to see the teen as still a child where the teen wants to be seen as an adult. Learning to bridge this gap and communicate efficiently may be a daunting task, but can be managed.

An adult should learn to offer support when conversing with a teenager. Let them know you are there for them. Ensure them that you are available to them at any time. Show them that you can listen without being judgmental. Don’t try to talk them out of the way that they feel. Show them that you can understand and give them the help that they need to deal with how they are feeling.

Many people suffer from unsettling feelings, even adults. Often these feelings are temporary and will pass, however, it is important to understand these feelings and not let them get worse. Teens who suspect they might have a problem should ask themselves the questions in the quiz that follows. Although the following quiz is not meant to replace a clinical diagnosis by a licensed physician, answering "Yes" to three or more questions might indicate a potential problem with depression.

Watch for the following signs for early detection of teenage depression.


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