Helping Your Teenager Beat Depression
As parents, it is tough watching your kids, especially your teen, suffer. We want the best for them and when they suffer, we suffer too.
A kid’s suffering is especially tougher on mothers, since most of us spend the most time with them. We see their struggles and pains and yearn to wipe it all off. Most times, we wish we could trade places with them, so they are spared whatever pain they’re going through.
Depression is becoming pretty common more and more of our teens are falling into it, and for various reasons.
Depression is defined by Wikipedia as:
…. a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, tendencies, feelings, and sense of well-being.
Like adults, when teens get depressed, it affects every aspect of their lives and this intense negative mood could persist for several weeks on end.
Unlike most adults, most teens aren’t emotionally mature to handle and overcome depression and most times would require some assistance to do so.
If you suspect your teenage daughter or son might be depressed, here are
Some Symptoms of Depression You Should Look Out for in Your Teens Include:
- A change in their sleep pattern
- A loss in appetite or an increased appetite
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss
- Feelings of worthless
- Feelings of despair
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Social withdrawal
- Difficulties concentrating on tasks or activities
- Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed
- Temper and tantrums
- Difficulties getting along with others
- Suicidal Thoughts (sometimes they voice these thoughts as jokes)
- Feelings of irritability
- Reckless behavior
- Unexplained medical symptoms
Here are Some Facts about Teen Depression You Should Know
- Teen girls are reported to have higher incidences of depression and an estimated 1% of teens girls (that’s three times the number of boys) are said to have experienced one form of depression or the other by the time they are 17.
- It is believed they experience depression more as they have to cope with emotional and physical stress earlier than their male counterparts.
- Most teens find it hard expressing exactly how they feel, a lot may be unaware of exactly what it is they are feeling and so, keep it bottled inside.
- Teens have far more unique ways of expressing their depression, ways that may be entirely different from how an adult would.
- About one in ten teens have or will experience depression at some point in their lives.
- Most times, there isn’t just one cause for your teen’s depressed state, and his depression may be as a result or combination of psychological, social, and biological factors.
- Teens that are sexually active have a higher likelihood of falling into depression.
The Two Major Types of Depression
Major depression, also known as major depressive disorder, affects both adults and teens alike.
When it occurs, it presents an arrays of symptoms that disrupt their lives and regular activities.
Major depression mostly occurs once and spans a few weeks. However, for some teens, there have been reports of it reoccurring once or a few times throughout their lives.
Dysthymic disorder or dysthemia, is depression that spans for a much longer time (two years or more). However, it usually presents less severe symptoms than major depression.
It also affects your teen’s life and has been known to reoccur in few cases.
Some Other Causes of Depression
Some other causes of depression include:
Other known causes of depression in teens include:
Stressful life events such as parental divorce or split, parents remarrying, the death of a loved one, or sexual abuse.
Growing up under an emotionally tensed environment such as domestic violence, extreme parental favouritism, extreme poverty, or unrealistically high parental expectations can also trigger feelings of depression.
Genetic reasons such as a close or extended family having had previous struggles with depression.
Medical reasons like life-altering accidents (losing a limb or other body parts), hypothyroidism, or side effects of certain medications.
Social reasons like bullying or difficulties catching on academically.
Helping Your Teenager Beat Depression
Because most teens aren’t usually expressive about their depressed state, parents have to be a bit more alert and on the lookout for these depression symptoms.
Once they are noticed, here are possible ways you can help your teen overcome them:
- Keep a good, open line of communication with your teen at all times, this way, they find it a little easier to come out of their shells and open up to you about how they feel.
- Get a professional diagnosis if need be and ensure your teen adheres to the treatment he gets placed on.
- Never ignore or take lightly, any word about committing suicide, even if said jokingly. You should also be in the lookout for any such written thoughts or poems that express such thoughts.
- Encourage your teen to eat healthy and get plenty of sleep.
- Constantly reassure them of your love and their importance to you and the world at large.
- Be patient, never judge, and understand that it might take a little longer than you expect for your teen to be completely out of the dark state and healthy once again.
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