6 Signs of Major Depression in Your Teen
Depression affects everyone regardless of age. Teenagers in particular, are vulnerable to pressures arising from the physical and social changes that they experience during this time. Such turmoil and uncertainty may have a drastic effect on their personality and may lead to issues such as severe anxiety, substance abuse, and even suicide. Such depression also causes teens to find socializing, eating, sleeping and studying difficult.
Just like it is the case with adults, teenagers exhibit the signs of depressions outwardly. As a parent/guardian, you need to understand these signs and what to do once you recognize them. Keep in mind that teen depression goes beyond moodiness and rebelliousness. According to Psychology Today, 1 in every 8 teens experience depression. The following are six of the major tell-all signs of teenage depression that you should watch out for.
1. Problems at School
Research indicates that depression may lead to concentration difficulties and low energy. Among school-going teens, this may be manifested by a sudden drop in performance, poor classroom attendance, and even frustration with school activities from hitherto a good student. Many depressed teens may try running away from school because they feel they no longer fit in.
An attempt to abscond school shouldn’t be perceived as a sign of rebelliousness but instead, a cry for help. You need to liaise with school authorities so that your teens’ school performance and even performance is monitored. This will enable you to pinpoint any behavioral changes early so that they can be remedied on time.
2. Low Self-Esteem
During our teenage years, we all experience physical and psychological changes, which lead to some degree of mental depression. Your teen is no different. Physical changes experienced during adolescence including breaking voice, pimple growth and body mass gain may trigger and even intensify feelings of ugliness, unworthiness, and failure.
These changes make them feel that they can no longer fit into the society because they do not understand whether they are still kids or adults. As a result, they tend to experience a dip in self-esteem. Many teenagers who experience low self-esteem end up hanging out with the wrong crowd thus worsening an already perilous situation.
3. Drug and Alcohol Abuse
According to Help Guide, many depressed teens may turn to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to offer self-medication to their depression. Unbeknown to them, drug and alcohol abuse only worsens the situation. Most of those who turn to drug and alcohol abuse do so due to pressure from their fellow teens who are older in most cases.
4. Agitation and Restlessness
Many people perceive restlessness as part of growing up. Nonetheless, it could be a sign that your kid is undergoing teenage stress. Agitation can lead to anxiety, sadness, and even a feeling of hopelessness. It also causes them to become extremely moody and irritable and may snap at their colleagues and even family members at the slightest provocation. Angry outbursts and disruptive behavior also point towards restlessness and agitation.
5. Running Away From Home
If your teen keeps talking about running away from home, you should interpret it as a sign of depression. Most depressed teenagers run away from their homes or entertain this thought because they feel patronized at home and therefore, crave independence. Such talk or actions could be a sign that your teenager is undergoing mental stress.
Some teenagers vent their anger and frustration on themselves. As a result, they may start entertaining the idea of getting pierced or tattooed, violence and even suicide. You need to seek help as soon as you notice that your teenage kid has developed a weird penchant for self-harm.
Just like it is the case with other medical conditions, depression can deteriorate if left untreated. You shouldn’t wait for the worrisome symptoms to fade away but instead, act on them immediately. Once you suspect that your teenage kid is depressed, find a way of bringing up your concerns in a non-judgmental and loving way.
Start a dialogue by asking them to share with you what they are going through. Make it known to them that whatever they are experiencing is normal. When talking to teens, focus on listening to them rather than lecturing them. Also, be gentle but persistent, acknowledge their feelings, and trust your guts.
As a parent, you need to understand the signs of major depression in your teen. This will help you take necessary measures aimed at remedying the situation. Be ready to seek treatment from reputable facilities such as Hillcrest Adolescent Treatment Center for professional behavioral health management.