Depression can affect people of different age, socio economic group, race and religion. Depression can have two faces; there's the sad kind of depression which is called major depression, and there's also the manic-depression or what is more commonly called bipolar disorder. This is where one person alternates between feeling sad and then feeling reckless and hyped.
The best way to find out whether your teen is depressed and what kind of depression your teen is suffering from is by having your teen evaluated by a mental health professional. This is important in order to be able to give the right kind of help and intervention needed the soonest time possible. For example, sending students to troubled teen camps, teen boot camps, therapy, and many others. It's also useful to know the common signs of depression. If these symptoms persist for more than two weeks or if these symptoms cause such a big change in your teen's life that it prevents him/her from performing daily activities, consult with a professional immediately. Here are some of the common signs of depression:
- has an unshakeable feeling of sadness that doesn't go away.
- cries a lot everyday.
- feels guilty, feels like they lost their confidence, feels significantly worse about one's self.
- feels that life has no meaning, that they have nothing good to look forward to, or feels nothing for a long period of time.
- has a hard time concentrating, forgets a lot of things that one doesn't normally forgets.
- feels unable to enjoy things that they usually enjoy like hanging out with friends, listening to music, playing sports, etcetera.
- insists on being left alone most of the time.
- has a hard time making up their mind.
- feels irritated, loses temper, over reacts over little things.
- there are marked changes in one's sleep patterns (getting either too much sleep or too little sleep)
- changes in eating patterns (either eats too much or too little)
- talks about death or committing suicide, even if they seem like they are just joking about it.
There are also a few symptoms of manic depression. Here are a few of them:
- there are times when this person feels a euphoric high, as if they are on top of the world.
- often has unrealistic ideas about what they can and can't do.
- cannot stick to one subject; jumps from one subject to another and cannot keep to a single train of thought.
- talks a lot.
- constantly moving, surrounding one's self with people, life is a constant party for manic depressives.
- often engages in risky behavior like reckless driving, drunk driving, unsafe sex, compulsive spending, etcetera.
- doesn't get much sleep because they can't get down from their high.
- rebellious and irritable, has difficulties getting along with people.
According to studies, around 4% of adolescents each year get seriously depressed. Teens who get clinically depressed can be helped by treatment and early intervention. Parents can try different types of intervention such as therapeutic boarding schools which has programs for teens battling with depression.