Mental health issues are becoming more common in teenagers. Approximately, 5% of teens in America can suffer from depression at any given point and astonishingly this number is rising. Furthermore, about 20% of teens will experience it before they become adults.
Here are some things to look out for:
Thoughts of suicide or attempts at suicide
Constant low mood, lasting for several weeks or months
Wanting to sleep more than is usual
Loss of appetite or refusing to eat; despite treatment, having digestive problems
A decrease in energy; fatigue
Withdrawal from family and social activities
Loss of interest in hobbies
Irritability, anxiety, and/or feelings of hopelessness
Trouble concentrating, focusing, or making decisions
Difficulties at school
Symptoms for every teen is different, not all will experience each listed above. No longer being sociable and not showing care in the quality of the work they do in school can be common warning signs, however, the remainder of the symptoms can come and go, or never show up at all. Parents should also keep in mind, that if they have a teen who is depressed, the mood disorder greatly increases the chances of partaking in substance abuse. Furthermore, because over 50% of children over the age of 13 are more likely to turn to substance abuse when they are depressed, this complicates treatment as there are 2 problems to address- the depression along with the substance abuse. In addition, trouble at home, genetic predisposition to mental illnesses, and/or abuse can increase the likelihood that a teen suffers from depression.
There is good news however, parents need not fret! Depression in teens is treatable. The most important thing for parents to remember is, the sooner they recognize there is a problem, the sooner they can get help for their teen. Once a parent recognizes there is a problem, they should immediately take their teen to their doctor who will be able to advise or recommend how to move forward as well as what forms of treatment to consider. For the most part, teenagers can win the battle of depression with the right and appropriate support.
For further information consult your family doctor and you can go to the following websites:
If experiencing thoughts of suicide:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They are available 24/7
Teens can get text support from the Crisis Text Line by texting “listen” to 741-741