What are the signs of depression in a teenager

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Last Updated: 08/30/2022

Teen Depression Symptoms | Signs your Child is Depressed

Since adolescents are often moody, it can be difficult to recognize when your son or daughter has become depressed, and might need help. The thing people tend to notice first is withdrawal, or when the teenager stops doing things she usually likes to do. There might be other changes in her mood, including sadness or irritability. Or in her behavior, including, appetite, energy level, sleep patterns and academic performance. If several of these symptoms are present, be vigilant about the possibility of teen depression.

This is especially important because by the time family members and other people around a teenager note her lack of interest in most things, or what we call anhedonia, she’s usually been depressed for some time. Depression is an internalizing disorder, i.e. one that disturbs a patient’s emotional life, rather than an externalizing one, which takes the form of disruptive or problematic behavior. As such, it takes a while not only for others to recognize it but often for the patient herself to realize that her thinking, and emotional responses, are disturbed.

Note that there are actually two kinds of depression. In major depressive disorder—the most familiar form of depression—the symptoms occur in what may be severe episodes that tend to last from seven to nine months. But there is also another form of depression called dysthymia, in which the symptoms are milder, but they last longer, even years. So while the experience of dysthymia may be less debilitating for the child at any given moment, the risk is that there is more accrued damage, more time in which the child is kept out of the healthy development process.

Why early intervention is critical

When a teenager is depressed, his suffering isn’t the only reason it’s important to get help. In addition to the disorder itself, there are add-on effects that may cause lifelong issues. With depression symptoms comes include low energy and poor concentration, two factors that are likely to have a significant impact on social and academic functioning.

It’s easy to see the effects of poor academic functioning: falling behind in school undermines a child’s confidence and self-image, and can impact his future if it’s prolonged. But social learning is just as critical as academic learning in adolescence. Deficits in social skills not only put depressed teens behind their peers, but in themselves can compound their depression.

Depression plus anxiety

It’s important to understand that a teenager who is depressed may also develop anxiety, and may need to be treated for two separate disorders. It may be that depression leads to anxiety—the negative state of mind of a depressed teenager lends itself to uncertainty. If you’re not feeling good about yourself, or confident, or secure, or safe, anxiety may find fertile ground. It may also be because the regions of the brain affected by anxiety and depression are close together, and mutually affected.

Two serious problems that are directly associated with teenage depression and anxiety are suicidal thinking (or behavior), and substance abuse. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24, and we know that most kids who commit suicide have been suffering from a psychiatric illness. Especially at risk are teenagers who hide their depression and anxiety from parents and friends. That’s why it’s important to be alert to signs of these disorders—withdrawal, changes in school performance, eating habits, sleeping patterns, things they enjoy doing—even when teenagers aren’t forthcoming about how they feel.

Similarly, the majority of teenagers who develop substance abuse problems also have a psychiatric disorder, including, most commonly, anxiety or depression, which is another important reason to get treatment in a timely way.

Treatments for depression

Fortunately, early involvement of health care professionals can shorten the period of illness and decrease the likelihood of missing important life lessons.

The most common treatment a mental health professional is apt to use is some form of cognitive behavioral therapy, and depending on how young the child is, it may involve teaching the parents as well. Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the idea that a person suffering from a mood disorder is trapped in a negative pattern of thought. Depressed kids tend to evaluate themselves negatively, interpret the actions of others in a negative way, and assume the darkest possible outcome of events. In CBT, we teach sufferers to challenge those negative thoughts, to recognize the pattern and train themselves to think outside it. And in many cases we see real improvement.

If the depression is moderate to severe, treatment may involve medications such as antidepressants. A combination of psychotherapy and medication usually works better than either alone.


14 August 2020 10:08

Views: 12771

The teenage years are often a very difficult time for children and their parents. This period is very important for mental well-being. Let's figure out what features of a teenager's behavior you should pay attention to and when to see a doctor.

People of all ages experience sadness, irritability, or low energy from time to time. Such feelings are considered normal, but if the negative does not disappear and does not weaken for a long time, this is a reason to contact a specialist. In the case of a child, this condition can mean depression. It is treatable, but it is not always easy to recognize even a specialist.

How serious is this in general?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is one of the leading causes of morbidity and disability among adolescents worldwide, with about 10-20% of them experiencing mental health problems but not being diagnosed and treated.

Who is at risk?

The reasons for the development of depression in adolescents are different and are determined individually in each specific situation. A person is made vulnerable by emotional, social, as well as physical factors: violence and abuse, social status among peers, family well-being, school or university performance.

Some teenagers are at higher risk for depression. This problem concerns children with chronic diseases or other neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders. At risk are adolescents who have become parents or entered into early marriage, as well as ethnic minorities.

Maybe my child is just lazy and doesn't want to do anything? Or just upset? How to understand that he is really bad?

Depression is not a condition that can be overcome by willpower. This is a persistent lack of interest in any activity, which is accompanied by a feeling of sadness. Often, this condition can cause suicidal thoughts, sleep and wake disturbances, and even physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach pains, and a constant feeling of fatigue. It may seem that a person is lazy, does not want to do anything, in fact, he will be in a state of apathy, which is one of the symptoms of depression.

Very often, depression is disguised as mood swings, and sometimes the teenager himself does not make contact, isolates himself from family and friends and does not want to talk about his mood. Such a condition should not be ignored, because it can result in serious consequences - antisocial behavior or in the worst case, for example, a suicide attempt.

You should not immediately try on labels on a teenager, because he may be sick, which is why it is so important to be aware of the symptoms of depression and communicate with your child. Gently bring him to the conversation, position him towards you, let him know that you are on his side and you care. Start a conversation with these phrases:

1. "Let's talk to you about this, it's important to me."

2. "Let's think about how we can solve this problem."

3. "You mean a lot to me, I'm worried about your condition."

What should you pay attention to?

First and most importantly, depression can manifest itself in different ways in different children and it does not proceed in the same way as in adults. Adults with depressive disorder are more likely to experience sadness, children and adolescents behave angry and irritable. Also, a sharp decline in grades at school often begins, changes in normal behavior are observed. Here are some wake-up calls:

defiant, reckless behavior, abrupt changes in behavior;

· irritability and anger;

Complaints of pain in the head or abdomen;

insomnia or, conversely, too much sleep;

fatigue, lack of energy;

decrease in appetite, loss or, conversely, a set of overweight;

· anxiety;

reduced physical activity;

Difficulties in making decisions;

Lack of concentration

Feelings of guilt or worthlessness

Thoughts of death or suicide;

aloof behavior

The use of psychoactive substances, alcohol;

the child cries for no reason;

increased sensitivity to criticism;

feeling of hopelessness and helplessness.

Which doctor treats depression?

Depressive disorders are dealt with by psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and sometimes psychologists. Unlike SARS, which in most cases can be dealt with on your own at home, depression requires mandatory monitoring by a doctor, since the causes of the disease are different. Hence the different treatments.

As a rule, adolescents are prescribed medication, psychotherapy, and are also given recommendations for changing their lifestyle. Normalization of sleep and wakefulness, sports, balanced nutrition - all these simple things can really do their bit in the fight against depressive disorder.

How long will the treatment last?

Overcoming depression can take time, in this regard, unfortunately, no guarantees can be made on the timing. According to this, treatment should be continued for 4-6 months after remission, as shorter periods lead to an increased risk of depression recurrence. Therefore, a teenager will need a lot of support. Remember, depressive disorders are treatable! This is not a life sentence, and a teenager will not be registered with a psychiatrist if he does not pose a threat to himself.

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Depression strikes people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. She calls mental distress and affects people's ability to perform everyday tasks. At its worst, depression can lead to to suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in ages 15–29years.

Depression is a disease characterized by constant a state of despondency and loss of interest in activities that are usually bring satisfaction, as well as the inability to do daily activities in for two weeks or more. For a number of physiological reasons, teenagers are highly prone to mood swings and are very sensitive to everything surrounding. Often relatives perceive a bad mood in adolescents as "transitional age" and "age rebellion". But there is more to this than whims and protest. And "teenage depression" is still a concept more medical than psychological.

How to recognize teen depression

Distinguish between depression and depression it is not easy for the layman. But experts identify a number of symptoms that An attentive parent or friend will definitely pay attention.

Here are main signs of depression in teenagers :

· Apathy - indifference and indifference, strong detachment from everything that happens, even from favorite and interesting things, people.

· Reduced attention and inability focus.

· Lack of appetite (applies to all foods, including sweets and favorite foods)

· Constant mild, but obsessive pain, predominantly by the type of VVD - headaches, heart, stomach pains.

· Indifferent attitude, irresponsible behavior, forgetfulness.

· Explicit or indirect identification of thoughts about death (direct non-demonstrative statement, creativity, risky reckless acts that threaten life, self-mutilation).

· Nighttime insomnia and hyperactivity daytime.

· Avoidance of communication, craving for loneliness.

· Alcohol, smoking, drug use substances.

· Promiscuous sexual relations.

If an adolescent has at least half of these signs - you should worry and consult a specialist for consultation.

What are the causes of depression

aged 12-18 in humans there are rapid processes of restructuring - hormonal changes. It is they cause sudden changes in mood and appetite. These changes all people are susceptible in adolescence, but the intensity of the flow in all different.

Someone withdraws into himself for a while and at most, what can be expected from a person at this age - sad poems and belonging to the dark subculture. Depression in this group can be corrected and does not require involvement in a course of antidepressants.

But there is another category that is included in suicide risk group. These are teenagers, suspicious and empathic from an early age. childhood, children registered with a neurologist or psychiatrist, certain social groups (disabled people, orphans, children from dysfunctional families, pedagogically neglected teenagers).

The hormonal background is constantly changing in ratios, which causes either unreasonable aggression or decadent mood. Thus, hormonal changes in the body of adolescents are the main cause of depression.

How do you know when it's time to apply for specialist assistance

Usually parents watch and fight in every possible way with depressive symptoms in children, mostly in aggressive ways. But there comes a moment when they realize that it is time to seek help from a doctor. How not skip this moment and save a vulnerable teenager?

Here are the signs, noticing which is worth seek advice from a psychotherapist or psychiatrist:

· Visible signs of self-harm (cuts on the arms, knocked down fists)

· Refusal of a teenager from food for more than five days.

· Speaking directly or through products creativity of suicidal ideas and thoughts, traces of suicidal attempts.

· Destructive antisocial behavior (fights, aggressive conflicts, gross violations of the law).

· Isolation from others.

· progressive apathy.

If the above were observed symptoms, you need to immediately seek help from a specialist, even demonstrative suicide can become successful. So it's important not to miss adolescent depression.

Problem the comfort of a teenager is quite serious. And it's not enough to solve it only the "educational work" of teachers, school psychologists. Parents too should "substitute their wing". And then by common efforts it will be possible to solve the problem of emotional security of students. Remember that:

• Each following the generation grows up earlier and the desire for an independent life they also appears early!

• Teen needs money: invite a girl to the cinema, go to a disco, but you never know what (By the way, you don't have to think about drugs right away).

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