Adolescent Depression has some notable warning signs. It is very important if you suspect your adolescent child is depressed that you get help immediately. Adolescence is a time of changes and they are "expected" to be moody, irritable, and isolative. This is why many times Depression among adolescents is often misdiagnosed or simply attributed to typical teen-age behavior.
Warning signs of Depression in adolescents
Poor or sliding grades in school, failure in school or a job, and feeling that they are not able to meet goals are warning signs. Withdrawal from friends, family, and activities may also occur. They may become increasingly isolated. They may exhibit sadness, hopelessness, and lack of motivation/enthusiasm. Their self-esteem may be low to non-existent.
They may not be able to concentrate, make decisions or forget things a lot. Sleep and appetite changes may occur. They may, in fact, become irritable, agitated, and restless. They may turn to substance abuse (self-medicating) or become suicidal or obsessed with death. If your adolescent shows any of these signs try to talk to them if only to let them know that you are there for them and get help immediately.
Causes of Adolescent Depression
The causes of adolescent Depression are very similar to causes of Depression in adults.
Death of a friend or loved one, even a pet could cause depressed feelings. Break-ups, not getting a phone call from a special person, Loss of a job or not getting the desired job may also create Depression. Failure in school or other settings may also be contributors. Having suicidal thoughts can be both a symptom and a cause of depressive feelings in adolescents. Girls are two times more likely to become depressed than boys.
It is important to first rule out any type of physical illness such as Hypothyroidism or Anemia. Once anything physical is ruled out, Depression should be considered. Treatments for adolescent Depression include the following:
Psychotherapy- talk therapy that attempts to help you/your teen recognized and change negative thinking. You/they will be taught better ways to solve problems and taught better social and interpersonal skills.
Medication - most typically anti-depressants are used with adolescents but with extreme caution. The reason for this is because not enough is known about the long term effects of antidepressants on adolescents. The side effects of anti-depressants may cause children under the age of 21 to have suicidal thoughts or even attempt it and may require hospitalization.
Alternative therapies such as Acupuncture, Acupressure, and specially designed exercise programs may benefit Depression in adolescents. You should check with your child's doctor before implementing any alternative therapies.
Herbal supplementation is all natural and has far fewer if any side effects than anti-depressants. If your child is taking any prescriptions for other health conditions, check with his/her doctor to be sure it's safe. The herbs are safe they just may reduce the effectiveness of some prescriptive medications and that could put your child at risk.
Adolescents are a unique group of people. They are experiencing a whirlwind of changes in their bodies, their thinking, and their emotions. They are notoriously moody, irritable, and sad. If you even suspect your child is depressed get help. Treatments include anti-depressants, psychotherapy, and the possibility of alternative therapies. Always check with your child's physician before changing their health regimen.