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Teen Depression

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Sometimes teenagers can be hard to interpret because they have many normal ups and downs as they grow into adults. But teen depression is a growing problem as evidenced by the increasing number of teen suicides. It’s also not unusual to hear parents of teenagers involved in violent acts in the schools say the teens had been depressed. But it’s sometimes hard to differentiate between the normal emotional variability due to hormonal changes and true depression.

As parents of teenagers, it’s important to watch for changes in behavior that don’t make sense and seem to worsen as times go by. For example, teenagers that have always enjoyed being with friends and then suddenly stop socializing may be experiencing depression. Losing interest in activities is one of the major signs of depression. Teen depression may reveal itself in other ways too.

• Loss of interest in sports activities when sports have always been important

• Sudden drops in grades at school

• Change in eating habits such as loss of appetite or ravenous gorging

• Comments indicating low self-esteem

• Sudden fluctuations in moods

It would be nice if an adolescent would just tell a parent exactly what he or she is thinking and feeling, but that often doesn’t happen. Instead the parents have to be acutely aware of unusual behavior that indicates something’s not right in their child’s life.

There are ongoing medical studies trying to find physical reasons for teen depression. There has been a correlation found between obesity and depression. That only makes sense when you consider the symptoms of depression in children. For example, an obese child can have feelings of low self worth due to peer taunting. Teenagers who are depressed may eat a lot of “comfort food” seeking solace for their feelings of isolation. Teenagers can also be experiencing problems at school and not be telling the parents at home. As a parent you think things are going well only to discover there’s been an ongoing problem between students or student and teacher.

Adolescents can be very sensitive human beings. The teenage years are formative years, and when problems in socialization occur, it can be very demoralizing. In addition, sudden mood swings can also indicate there’s another problem in the teen’s life. If a teenager is being abused physically or sexually, teen depression can be the response.

Identifying teen depression can be difficult, but never impossible. When you suspect your child may be experiencing teen depression, you should try to talk to the child first. If the adolescent won’t talk to you then professional therapy may be in order. It’s important that some kind of treatment be instituted, because the lack of self esteem can be devastating. Depression deepens and doesn’t just disappear once he or she reaches adulthood. Your teenager can become a depressed adult next.

Of course, one of the best treatments you can give your child is always lots of love!



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