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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Recognizing a Teenager is Suffering with Depression and How to Help

Living with a teenager can be very confusing. One minute they’re floating on air and the next they’re down in the dumps with no explanation. The fact that talking with them about anything can be very difficult only makes the situation worse. Modern teenagers face a whole host of pressures, from their peers, from changes in their own bodies and fears about who they are and where they fit in. All the uncertainty and trauma makes it difficult to tell whether the way they’re feeling is a case of the teenage blues or the much more serious problem of depression.

How to Tell Whether a Teenager is Depressed
Depression is a common complaint in today's world and affects people of all ages, including teenagers. Teenagers often choose to ‘self-medicate’ as a coping method with drugs or alcohol. Depression usually gets worse in such situations, and you need to consider seeking addiction recovery treatments for your teenager. Estimates put a figure of 1 in 5 adolescents will suffer from it at some point during their teens. Bad moods and the occasional acting out are to be expected. However, depression is something completely different. Here are some of the signs to look for.
·       Problems at school – depression can cause difficulties with concentration and low energy. This often leads to a fall in grades, poor attendance and frustration with schoolwork when previously there wasn’t a problem.
·       Low self-esteem – feelings of shame, failure, unworthiness, and ugliness can be made worse when a teenager is depressed.
·       Running away – they may talk about running away from home or actually do it. This can be considered a cry for help.
·       Reckless behavior – dangerous or high-risk behaviors such as binge drinking, unsafe sex, and reckless driving.
·       Other mental health problems – eating disorders, self-injury, and other mental health problems can be associated with teenage depression.

How to Help a Depressed Teenager

Left untreated, depression can be detrimental so don’t wait to hope they’ll grow out of it. If you suspect your teenager is feeling depressed encourage them to talk about it in a loving and non-judgmental way. Talk to them about the signs you’ve noticed and let them know why you’re worried. Get them to share what they are going through, making sure you really listen to what they’ve got to say. Don’t ask too many questions and assure them you’re willing to provide support and help in whatever way you can.
You'll find lots of useful advice online that will help you to figure out how to deal with the above problems. For example, if your teen hates school you can take a read of these 15 strategies from Daniel Wong which range from talking to their teachers to simply considering if anything you're doing is putting stress on them (e.g. nagging them to get their work done).
Feelings of depression can often lead to isolation, so you have to do what you can to help them reconnect. Face to face time with your teenager helps immensely, and you can also encourage them to go out with friends or invite their friends over. Take part in family activities and provide opportunities for them to connect with other children. If they have any interests and talents suggest appropriate activities. One last suggestion is to get them involved in helping others. As well as being a powerful antidepressant, volunteering can boost their self-esteem.

Having a depressed teenager in the home can sap everyone’s energy. Helping them come to terms with the problem and finding ways to help is going to be of benefit to everyone.    


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