Teenage depression seems to be much more common these days than it was years ago. Today’s teenager is under a great deal more pressure. Not only are they expected by their parents and teachers to perform well academically, they are also expected to be good at sports, drama and many other things. Added to that, they want to be accepted by their peers and often, acceptance is not about getting good grades but actually often the very opposite.
Add their raging hormones to the mix and it is no wonder that many teens start to feel depressed. However, a person can feel depressed without actually having clinical depression or needing treatment. It is when depression starts to interfere with their everyday life that treatment should be sought. What are the symptoms of teenage depression?
- Your teen may start to withdraw from family and social life,
- They may have outbursts of crying or tantrums that are almost uncontrollable,
- They cannot sleep well,
- Or they may be unable to stay awake and spend most of their time in bed,
- Their school grades will start to go down,
- They will find no pleasure in the things that they used to enjoy,
- Teenage depression can cause weight gain through comfort eating, or your teen may lose weight.
If your teen loses weight quickly you need to watch for signs of anorexia and bulimia. When a person is depressed they suffer also from lack of self esteem and so are more prone to those two problems. They may become hypercritical about their image and perceive themselves as being too fat, even though they are not. The result is that they either refuse to eat, or they binge eat and throw up to get rid of the effects of it.
It is a wise parent who will keep an eye on their teen to ensure that they are not suffering from depression. Keep the doors of communication open even if your teen seems as if they don’t want to talk, or tells you there is nothing to talk about. Teens are often uncommunicative, but when parents remain loving and open they can be encouraged to talk about their problems.
Don’t let your child suffer unnecessarily, but get them treatment for teenage depression if you think that they could be suffering from this debilitating problem. Sweeping it into the too-hard basket will accomplish nothing and your child could go through years of suffering and anguish for nothing.
Worse still, the depression can escalate and lead to them doing things they normally wouldn’t consider, such as taking drugs or drinking alcohol. If left untreated, depression can even lead to suicide. So talk frankly and honestly to your teen and make sure they know you are not judging them, but want to help.