Is Your Teen Depressed ? Depression Causes and Symptoms Parents Should Look
Created by Swapna Nair Updated on Jun 03, 2020
Depression is a commonly used term. When one is in a low mood or very upset or gloomy then they say they are ‘depressed'. All of us experience happy moments and sad moments. It is normal to be sad about something- an event or a situation. One could have failed in a test; a child lost his wallet and is sad about it; a girl who has been rejected by a boy is sad. There are many such examples. Here it is important to note that we are sad about something.
Whereas depression is when we are sad – just sad. Our lives may be all normal but we are sad; we have this feeling of sinking, hopelessness, worthlessness and we are unable to experience happiness or get excited or enthusiastic. There is no trigger for being sad when we are depressed. Sadness is just one symptom of depression. It is combined with several other factors affecting us in the long term.
Depression literally sucks out the life in us. It is very draining. But before we go further into it let's see what is depression and how can you help your child come out of it.
What Is Depression?
Depression is an illness that needs treatment. The good news is that depression is treatable. Early diagnosis helps. We may also come across these over enthusiastic nosy acquaintances who misunderstand depression and tell those suffering from it to ‘think positive' or ‘change one's mind-set. It is not easy. Depression is an illness and requires attention and treatment.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression In Teens?
The symptoms of depression in teens and adults do vary. An individual needs treatment if the feeling of terrible sadness stays on for minimum two weeks combined with any of these 5 symptoms.
- Frequent crying spells
- Changes in eating and sleeping pattern- teens will tend to sleep a lot
- Low energy
- No interest in the daily activities especially in those which used to be interesting earlier
- Problem in focussing or paying attention to oneself and one's tasks
- Feeling very worthless, hopeless and guilty all the time
- Talks of dying or suicidal deaths
- Always bored and disinterested
- Having pain and aches- headaches
- Unprovoked anger especially in teens
- Any signs of delusion (intense false beliefs) and hallucinations( where one sees or hears things that aren't there) among the teens
Also Read:Is Your teen Rude & Back-Talking To You
What Are The Causes Of Depression In Teenagers?
There are several causes of depression in teens and here I am listing a few of them.
- Life events like death, birth, marriage or marital conflicts in parents / relationship issues, divorce (parent), transfer of school/ work- any of these that alter one's current status
- Attentional issues like in ADD/ADHD
- Learning difficulties
- Poor academic performance
- Anxiety over exams, failure etc
- Low self- esteem, low confidence
- Poor body image
- Poor emotional quotient where one is unable to handle emotions, is highly sensitive especially to failure
- Family history and since it is most likely for a preteen or a teen to be vulnerable to depression if the mother has depressive disorder
Note: Some disorders like low thyroid and anaemia may have depression like symptoms. Hence it is best to consult the doctor when you notice changes in their day to day lives. What Is The Treatment?
When you notice changes in your child's physical, mental, social and emotional states, it is best to intervene early. Consult your child's doctor. Generally they would refer you to a psychiatrist. Sometimes they may ask you to have an assessment done by a clinical psychologist. A psychologist can only asses and give a report. The report will be suitably interpreted by a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist can give treatment in these ways.
- Medication (anti-depressants): ensure that the child takes the right dose and at the right time. Also learn about the consequences so that you can help your child and yourself manage them
- Counselling: Counselling combined with medication helps tremendously. The treatment can be focussed on the individual or the individual and family. A counsellor may use CBT-cognitive behavioural therapy or IPT-interpersonal therapy or a combination of therapies
What You Can Do As A Parent?
Here are some of the things that you can do as parents to help your child.
- Be consciously engaged with your child
- Emotion coach your child
- Accept that there will be changes at every stage of development. For example from the age of ten there will be distinct changes in attitude and behaviour
- Spare exclusive time just to hang out with your child
- Be a keen observer
- Know your child. Understand your child and accept them as they are. Do not force them to change their basic personality. If parents do not accept their wards as they are then how will society accept them? Be fiercely loyal to your child. Does your child compare you with other mothers and parents?
- As your child grows into a teen, his or her interests and values will change. If you have cultivated an open channel of communication from their childhood, the teenage years will pass by without too much conflict and stress. Some amount of conflict and stress is good
- Know the friends and company your child keeps
- Inculcate good habits. Ensure they get good exercise, healthy food and enough sleep
- Failure is normal. Do not over protect nor should you make them too competitive with others. Teach them not to compare with others, rather compete with oneself
- Teach them to be assertive and not aggressive
- Maintain good relations and keep conflicts out of your marital life and home
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