Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Depressed or Lazy?

Anyone with a teen knows the constant battle to motivate them. The constant struggle with the laziness and un-cooperation of the teen years. As parents, we have to stay vigilante to be sure whether they are depressed or lazy.

Teenage depression rates are very high. It really is no wonder with all the added stress of hormones, peer pressure, chores, and homework along with any extra curricular activities. Add to that the fear of failure and the pressure of deciding what to do with the rest of your life.

The signs of teenage depression are actually different from adult or childhood depression. These signs often make them appear as if they have become very lazy.

Unfortunately, they may not even realize that they are depressed. The idea of needing help for it will not occur to them if they do not understand how serious an illness it is.

Most often, it is up to the adults in their lives to figure out whether they really are depressed or lazy. To do this, we must watch for and recognize the symptoms of depression in teenagers.

These signs may vary between the sexes, but there are some symptoms that are common to both male and female teens.

Signs of Depression That Are Usually Common to Both Sexes:

  1. Excessively negative

  2. Antisocial behavior

  3. Retreating to their rooms constantly, or wanting to leave home

  4. Carelessness about their appearance.

  5. Disinterest in family get-togethers and activities.

Signs of Depression That Are Usually More Common in Males:

  1. Unusual aggression and agitation.

  2. Getting into trouble at school or with the law

  3. Reckless behavior including misusing illegal substances

Signs of Depression That Are Usually More Common in Females:

  1. Becoming sloppy in their appearance.

  2. A new or unusual preoccupation with death or suicide.

  3. Extreme behavior with the opposite sex (either promiscuous or isolated from them)

Some Other Signs That Might Appear:

  1. A lower self-esteem than normal

  2. References to suicide (in some extreme cases)

  3. A general negative outlook on life.

Although teens are struggling to be independent, a teenager that is dealing with depression will need your help. It will likely be up to you to push them to open up about their feelings. At least enough that you can decide what type of help to offer them.

Some ideas for discovering and coping with depression in your teen

  • Be upfront. Tell them that you are concerned about their recent behavior. Talk about depression, make sure they understand that it is a treatable illness.

  • If their depression is severe, or they talk about suicide, wanting to die, etc. - seek professional help.

  • If your teen will not talk to you, talk with their friends or their parents. They may have opened up to them about their problems.

  • Suggest some one-on-one time by offering a favorite activity or outing.

  • Ask them straight out if there is anything they need to talk about.

  • Don't put on an act for them, just let them know you are concerned.

  • Be vigilant. Watch for signs of suicide and take extreme measures if you see them.

  • If they are reaching out, take the time to be there for them and listen.

The only way to be sure if your teen is depressed or lazy is to be observant. Watch carefully for changes in their behavior. Even though they are usually good at hiding depression from us, this should help you to catch it at an early stage.

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