Is Your Teenager Suffering From Depression?
Depression is a serious illness that is often unrecognised and misunderstood by many. In recent years, however, efforts have been made by organisations and governments to increase awareness of the disorder and the treatments available. As a parent, it can be hard to distinguish between normal teen angst and real depression. We all remember the highs and lows of being a teenager, but if your child is displaying the following symptoms, it may be time to seek professional help.
It’s not all ‘happy day’s’ being a teen!
Think back to your teen years. It’s fair to say that your parents considered you quite moody, even if you didn’t actively rebel by drinking, doing drugs or smoking. The pressures of school, problems with friends, negative body image and feeling restricted can certainly lead to grumpiness and sulkiness. If, however, your teenager also shows other symptoms, they may be suffering from depression.
There are times in our lives when we question the point of it all. Why do we do the things we do? What are we working for? Depression can lead to a prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness. For sufferers, every silver lining has a dark cloud of despair. Physical manifestations of these feelings include listlessness, restlessness and sudden bursts of crying.
As sufferers of depression feel more and more despondent, they usually pull away from their social circles in an act of withdrawal. When you ask your teenager about their friends, do they turn away and give non-committal, short answers? Are they spending more time in their bedroom or on the computer? Do they no longer participate in hobbies outside of school?
Problems at School
Depression has been linked to an inability to concentrate and poor decision-making skills, so whether your child is a straight-A student or an average performer, if you are suddenly receiving negative reports from teachers regarding their behaviour and academic results, this is also cause for concern.
Unusual Sleeping Patterns or Appetite
Does your child suddenly struggle to wake up in the mornings? Have they complained of insomnia or waking up early and being unable to return to sleep? Or maybe they have lost their appetite in recent weeks? Depression has both mental and physical effects, including insomnia, oversleeping, an increased appetite, a loss of appetite and a fluctuation in weight. These are the more easily identifiable indicators, so keep a close eye on your teenager.
Our teenage years are when we are most vulnerable to low self-esteem and a distorted body image. Advertisements bombard teenagers with images of impossibly beautiful singers, actors, models and celebrities, just when they are first becoming acquainted with acne, stretch marks, lankiness, a lack of muscles or breasts, and body odour. It’s tough. Does your teenager seem unusually hyper-critical of their appearance? Are they fixated on their shortcomings in life to the point where the negativity is endless?
What do you think? Was this article helpful? If you fear that your teenager suffers from depression or just want to get some further information, reach out today. From 24 hour helplines offered by non-profit organisations such as beyondblue, to specialised counselling from psychologist practices such as Talking Minds, help is available. To share your story or advice, please comment in the box below.
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