Diagnosing and Treating Teens With DepressionWhen you suffer from depression, your entire outlook on life is altered, causing you to see the world differently than the average person. While everyone has periods of their life where they feel sad, lonely, or frustrated, this is situational depression and goes away with time. Clinical depression, however, does not go away on its own and leaves an individual with a feeling of inescapable despair.
Understanding the Three Types of DepressionIt is important to understand that only a medical professional can adequately diagnose whether or not your teenager has depression. However, it is worthwhile to recognize the three types of depression so that you are better aware of what your child may be suffering from.
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation DisorderThose who are persistently irritable and often engage in unreasonable physical or verbal aggression may have disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.
Persistent Depressive DisorderFormerly known as dysthymia, those who suffer from this disorder experience depressive episodes that are not as severe as major depressive disorders, but tend to last longer, usually a year or longer.
Major Depressive DisorderWhen people talk about depression, they are most likely referring to MDD. A person with MDD experiences excessive bouts of depression that will last anywhere from weeks to years, but separated by spans of stable moods.
US Statistics On Teen DepressionWhile most consider depression to be something that mainly adults struggle with, the reality is that about 20 percent of teenagers experience depression before reaching adulthood. This should be a cause for concern for every parent with a teenager because when your teenager is depressed, it can lead to a number of other factors such as…
- 12 times more likely to commit suicide
- 30 percent of depressed teenagers also develop a substance abuse problem.
- Less likely to excel in school and later on, their career.
- Smaller social circle.
- Less likely to seek out educational opportunities.
- Violent Behavior
- Lack of self-esteem
- Inflicting self-harm
- Internet Addictions
- Runs away
How Teenage Depression Differs From Adult DepressionWithdrawing vs. Isolating – even when suffering from depression, teenagers enjoy maintaining friendships but may withdraw from other important relationships. Adults with depression tend to isolate themselves completely. Extremely Sensitive - teenagers who are depressed experience feelings of insignificance and therefore react poorly to any type of rejection, failure or criticism. Irritability - While adults are more practiced in their ability to hide their unhappy moods, teenagers are more prone to outbursts where their angry mood is very well known. Depressed teenagers seem irritable rather than sad. Anonymous Aches and Pains - Teenagers with depression may complain of physical ailments such as frequent stomach aches or headaches that have no medical cause. This is often a sign of depression.
How Parents May View Teen DepressionIf you feel that your teen may be experiencing depression, you want to provide them with the necessary help immediately. Here are some questions you should ask yourself to help indicate whether your teen is experiencing the emotional symptoms that can accompany teenage depression.
- Does my teen seem sad or depressed the majority of the time?
- Has their behavior persisted longer than two weeks?
- Has my teenager lost interest in the things they used to love?
- Does my teen seem to feel worthless or hopeless?
- Does it seem like my teen doesn’t enjoy life the way they used to?
- Does my teen struggle to concentrate?
- Feeling tired a majority of the time.
- Lack of energy
- Excessive Sleep Problems
- Physically slow or restless
- Change in appetite, either an increase or decrease
How Teens View Their Depression
- You feel like something is wrong with you and have low self-esteem.
- You feel overly sensitive.
- You have no interest in the things that you used to love.
- You’ve thought about suicide or death- seek help immediately if this is true!
- You can’t concentrate and your grades have suffered because of it.
- You’re sleeping either too much or not enough.
- You’ve lost or gained weight without meaning to.
- You frequently have headaches or other body pains.