Everyone gets the blues now and then, but the teen years can be a tumultuous time, full of emotional ups and downs. Hormonal changes, physical changes, and the pressures of growing up can cause your teen to feel a little down once in a while.
But what happens if the sadness doesn’t go away? What do you do if “the blues” don’t seem so temporary?
Depression is very real, and it can be devastating. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1.9 million children, aged 3 to 17 years old, have been diagnosed with depression. The ways depression affects young people can be different from how adults are affected, but that is also how you can identify depression in your teen.
If you suspect that your child is depressed, you should get help for them immediately. Talk to your doctor about your concerns and treatment options. If you aren’t sure what to look for, this will help.
Remember, even four or five symptoms can indicate depression, especially if one is a mood component. Don’t wait until it gets so bad they can’t function. If you suspect your teen is suffering from depression, get help now.
Depression can change a person’s thought process. This may be very noticeable but often it is much more subtle. Depressive thinking can include:
- Difficulty concentrating or “foggy” thinking
- Preoccupation with dying and death
- Memory problems
- Difficulty making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts and plans
Mood symptoms of depression are probably the most well-known. These are the markers that most people associate with depression – but there are some symptoms that you might not be aware of. Depressive mood can include:
- Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
- Loss of interest in things they once enjoyed
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling excessive guilt or worthlessness
- Feeling nothing, emotionally numb
The effects of depression can be felt physically as well as emotionally. The body reacts in ways that you may not expect. It is important to know to look for those physical aspects of depression so that you can act quickly and get your teen the help he or she needs. Depressive physical markers can include:
- Extreme fatigue, lack of energy
- Physically slow
- Sleep difficulties, either sleeping a lot more than normal or inability to sleep
- Significant increase or decrease in appetite that can cause a noticeable change in weight
When we are sick, our social life often takes a hit. Depression is no different. Some of the most telling, significant symptoms of depression are the social ones. Depressive social changes can include:
- Withdrawn from family and friends
- Socially isolated
- Increased risk-taking behavior, including drug and/or alcohol use
- Loss of friends or romantic relationships
- New friends or social circles that are questionable
Depression is not likely to go away by itself and may even worsen. Your teen could be at risk even if his or her symptoms don’t seem very severe, especially if they are suicidal. The time to act when your teen is depressed is as soon as you see it. Don’t let depression rob your teen of this precious time in their life.
At Sandstone Health we help patients manage many of the symptoms of anxiety and depression with medication-free neurofeedback therapy. Learn More or make your appointment today.
*Sandstone Center for Neurofeedback does not diagnose medical conditions. Sandstone Center for Neurofeedback is a nonmedical, medication-free program for children and adults who struggle.