Do thorough research and you will notice that schools are now investing money in motivational speakers; all in a bid to improve our children’s quality of life. Among the many topics handled during such talks, the subject of mental disorder seems to be cropping up more often than not.
The number of teens who are suffering from mental health-related disorders is slowly going up. One of the most common of these disorders is depression.
Depression is a mental disorder that affects the young and the old alike. Mental health speakers are keen to insist that parents, guardians, and caregivers are not likely to suspect that their teens are mentally ill. It is not easy diagnosing the symptoms, especially in adolescents. Reason being, these symptoms look like normal adolescent behavior. Some of the early warning signs include anger, irritability, rebelliousness, social withdrawal, and changes in eating and sleeping patterns to name but a few.
Symptoms of depression among teens
As I said earlier, early signs of depression in adolescents will resemble normal teen behavior. However, experts say that if a parent notices irrational behavior that lasts at least two weeks or more, they should take their kids for a mental evaluation. This two-week period is what we refer to as the ‘major depressive period’.
To further understand depression symptoms in teens, below are other major signs to look out for.
- Deteriorating performance in school
- Lack of motivation or hopelessness
- Low self-esteem
- Frequent crying
- Very short concentration spans
- Suicidal thoughts
Suicide warning signs
If left untreated, depression can lead to suicide. The possibility of a teen contemplating and actualizing suicide exists at all stages during the major depressive period.
Below are things to watch out for in order to catch early signs of suicide ideation in adolescents
- They have suicidal talks
- They write notes and poems about taking away their lives
- Constantly engage in reckless and dangerous behavior
- Start giving out prized possessions
- Write about death and suicide on their various social media platforms
- Start saying goodbye to people on social media, through notes and also in person
If you notice your teen with any of the above behaviors, seek psychiatric help fast.
Treating depression in teens
If you suspect that your adolescent could be suffering from depression, the first step would be to do complete physical examinations to rule out any other possible medical condition.
Below are some of the possible treatments to consider for your depressed teen.
- Psychotherapy: This is the initial treatment for teens with mild depression. It mainly consists of talk therapy coupled up with cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Group therapy: group therapy is effective for teens as it allows them to connect with other teens that share in their struggles. This support group is one that goes beyond friends and family.
- Medication: once your child is diagnosed with major depressive disorder, they will be given antidepressant medication. This teen should first receive a careful evaluation by a physician to confirm their diagnosis since antidepressants for children and adolescents is highly discouraged due to its many risk factors.