Teen Depression: A Guide for Parents

Topics: Adolescence, Bipolar disorder, Suicide Pages: 15 (5047 words) Published: February 11, 2013
Teen Depression: Guide for Parents
Help your Family by Learning the Signs, Symptoms and Effects of Teen Depression

Teenage depression isn’t just bad moods and the occasional melancholy—it’s a serious problem that impacts every aspect of a teen’s life. Teen depression can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, self–loathing and self–mutilation, pregnancy, violence, and even suicide. But as a concerned parent, teacher, or friend, there are many ways you can help. Talking about the problem and offering support can go a long way toward getting your teenager back on track. In This Article:

* Understanding teen depression
* Signs and symptoms
* Effects of teen depression
* Suicide warning signs in teens
* Help a depressed teenager
* Teenage antidepressant use
* Supporting a teen through treatment
* Taking care of the whole family

Understanding teen depression
For Teens
If you’re a teenager struggling with depression or you’d like to learn how to help a depressed friend, see Teen Depression: Guide for Teenagers. There are as many misconceptions about teen depression as there are about teenagers in general. Yes, the teen years are tough, but most teens balance the requisite angst with good friendships, success in school or outside activities, and the development of a strong sense of self. Occasional bad moods or acting out is to be expected, but depression is something different. Depression can destroy the very essence of a teenager’s personality, causing an overwhelming sense of sadness, despair, or anger. Whether the incidences of teen depression are actually increasing, or we’re just becoming more aware of them, the fact remains that depression strikes teenagers far more often than most people think. And although depression is highly treatable, experts say only one in five depressed teens receive help.
Unlike an adult, who have the ability to seek assistance on his or her own, a teenager usually must rely on parents, teachers, or other caregivers to recognize his or her suffering and get he or she the treatment the teen needs. So if you have an adolescent in your life, it’s important to learn what teen depression looks like and what to do if you spot the warning signs. Signs and symptoms of teen depression

Teenagers face a host of pressures, from the changes of puberty to questions about who they are and where they fit in. The natural transition from child to adult can also bring parental conflict as teens start to assert their independence. With all this drama, it isn’t always easy to differentiate between depression and normal teenage moodiness. Making things even more complicated, teens with depression do not necessarily appear sad, nor do they always withdraw from others. For some depressed teens, symptoms of irritability, aggression, and rage are more prominent. Signs and symptoms of depression in teens

* Sadness or hopelessness * Irritability, anger, or hostility * Tearfulness or frequent crying * Withdrawal from friends and family * Loss of interest in activities * Changes in eating and sleeping habits| * Restlessness and agitation * Feelings of worthlessness and guilt * Lack of enthusiasm and motivation * Fatigue or lack of energy * Difficulty concentrating * Thoughts of death or suicide | If you’re unsure if an adolescent in your life is depressed or just “being a teenager,” consider how long the symptoms have been present, how severe they are, and how different the teen is acting from his or her usual self. While some “growing pains” are to be expected as teenagers grapple with the challenges of growing up, dramatic, long-lasting changes in personality, mood, or behavior are red flags of a deeper problem. The difference between teenage and adult depression

Depression in teens can look very different from depression in adults. The following symptoms of depression are more common in teenagers than in their adult counterparts: * Irritable or angry...
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