Teenage is a confusing time in our lives. You go through significant changes physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is a challenging phase. As a parent, one may wonder why their adolescent teen has been acting moody and is drifting away from them? It may be a sign of teen depression. Anyone can unexpectedly be under the weather, which is normal. But if a teenager is sulking most of the time, one must stay alert. Findings show that one out of eight teens has depression and this critical time of their lives shapes the decisions they make that will affect them in adulthood.
Fortunately, depression is not untreatable, and thanks to the information and resources available, there is much help that you can find. Here’s everything you need to know about teen depression and how to detect the signs.
Why do they get it?
Several factors contribute to teen depression. Adults commonly make the mistake of identifying sadness with one specific thing and believing that if they took that thing out of the lives of the depressed person, it would be discovered immediately. However, that is not the case. Depression can come through anxiety and feelings of inadequateness in school. Be it about their grades, friends, fitting in, excelling at the sport they play, their love life, bullying, and similar school-related things that can cause a lot of stress in their life. Things like unstable household conditions, divorced parents, toxic familial ties, and financial instability are reasons for teen depression. They can lead to substance abuse over time.
If you notice any of the above, it is time to step in and help the struggling person out.
Help them get treatment
Encouraging teens to join rehab centers or community groups like Delphi Behavioral Health Group is necessary. That’s because teenagers may not feel confident about seeking help, and it is crucial to motivate them to do so. Encouraging teenagers and helping them take the next big step in their lives can be fruitful in the long run as they get one step closer to a better life. Furthermore, groups and rehab centers promote goodwill.
Symptoms of depression in teens
Numerous noticeable signs show that a teen may feel unwell and possibly depressed. The most frequent indication that gives it away is sulkiness. If you notice a teen being sad or tired quite often, or they stay sulking all the time, it is a significant sign that they are struggling with their mental health. Teens isolate themselves in their room, spending no time with family or no motivation for any activity. They get irritated quickly and lash out in frustration over the most minute things.
Another significant tell is the change in eating habits; this is a vulnerable age, and most teens turn to self-harm in the face of an eating disorder. They either stop eating, which drastically affects their health, or start binging on food unnecessarily. As a result, one can tell that this is a sign that they have unaddressed issues that they are dealing with. It may be body image, bullying, or an unhealthy coping mechanism.
Other signs may include:
- Lashing out
- Complaining about major headaches, stomach aches, nausea, and fatigue
- Frequent visits to the hospital
- Undue guilt
- Memory loss – forgetfulness or an overall disregard
- Rebellious behavior
- Talking about death/dying
- Spontaneous crying
- Withdrawal from family/friends
Different types of depression in teens
There are many different types of depression teens have in adolescence. Although it is best to go to a professional and get a diagnosis, here is a list of some forms of depression present in teens:
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): It is a low-grade, chronic depression that often lasts for more than a year. Teens with dysthymia have low energy and self-esteem, are easily irritable, and struggle with finding motivation. Dysthymia affects their mood, sleeping pattern, self-image, eating habits, and much more. Findings state that approximately 11% of teens between 13-18 experience dysthymia. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help with dysthymia. Always seek professional help in situations like these.
- Bipolar disorder: To identify Bipolar Disorder (BPD), look for manic episodes followed by long periods of depression. Both can last anywhere from a week to months. Some symptoms include a short temper, major mood fluctuations, difficulty concentrating, being defiant, and frequently getting into trouble. Treatments for BPD include proper medication, therapy, and even hospitalization.
- Adjustment disorder: The most common type of depression, this disorder, luckily, is not that severe. The adjustment disorder or depression occurs following a substantial change or event in life, after which the teen struggles to adjust in their lives. Be it moving homes, the death of a loved one, changing schools, or parents divorcing. These changes can drastically affect their perspective on life and trigger them into a depressive episode that can last for months. It is easier to deal with this type of depression with constant support and professional help.
You have a variety of ways to treat depression in teenagers. Always seek out a professional diagnosis to opt for the best treatment. Medication and psychotherapy are effective in treatment. The person at hand will need all the help and support they can get from their family or friends. In case of severe depression and suicidal behavior, experts suggest hospitalization and rehabilitation. A mental health doctor can create the best plan for you according to your condition.
Conclusively, teen depression is a grave issue plaguing all aspects of their lives and is becoming an increasingly common phenomenon. The culture of instant gratification and social media comparison makes numerous kids feel inferior and overwhelmed. As a parent, one should always look out for these signs and get help for their child. Always remember to be gentle and understanding with treatment because only the person going through depression can understand how it feels. Hence, utmost care is mandatory.