Teen depression is on the rise. As of 2015, nearly 3 million young people, aged 12 to 17, were treated for some type of severe depressive episode. Recent reports have also shown that females are almost four times as likely to suffer from clinical depression as males.
In many cases of adolescent despair, parents were completely unaware that their child was going through a difficult period. Thus, there was no treatment to handle the condition before a major episode or, worse, a suicide occurred. Below, we cover some of the signs and symptoms of teen mental health issues that you as a parent can be aware of so that you can help your child through a healthy recovery.
If you notice that your once happy and socially-engaged child would just come straight home and stay in his or her room, then you may need to address this as a possible problem. Children who suffer from the blues are no different than adults. They would rather spend their time in bed, alone, with the curtains drawn. They go deep within themselves and their focus is usually on what is bothering them.
As parents, we often wonder why our son or daughter snaps at us for no reason at all. Once or twice is normal. If it occurs frequently, then it’s a sign of moodiness, which, in turn, often leads back to depression. Teenagers have a difficult time dealing with their emotions due to a surge in hormones that occur during this phase of their lives. If you notice erratic behavior, significant shifts in mood, or that your kid is crying all the time for reasons that can’t be explained, then he or she may be suffering from depression.
Sudden Drop in Academic Performance
We all want our young ones to do well in school. And many of them rise to the occasion. But school can be stressful and trigger a lot of pressure. That ongoing daily pressure can lead to a melancholic state and anxiety attacks. When this happens, they will often avoid any school-related matters. This lack of desire to do homework or study for tests will be reflected in their grades. Instead of scolding or punishing a child for the sudden dip in grades, try getting to the heart of the matter. It may be the anxiety he or she is experiencing on a daily basis.
Changes in Appetite or Weight Fluctuations
Most adolescents should have hearty appetites due to their high rate of metabolism. A teenager suffering from depression, however, may lose the desire to eat no matter how hungry he or she may become. This can often lead to problems such as anorexia or other eating disorders. Monitor your teenager’s eating habits. On average, he or she should be taking in 3 square meals a day. When their appetite plummets for long periods, then you should address this and find out what is going on.
As caretakers, we owe it to our children to monitor their mental and emotional health as well as their physical health. Adolescents are under a lot of academic, social, and psychological pressure these days and can buckle under that pressure at any moment. Being there for them means being aware of their state of mind at any given time. As a parent, you can make a difference in your kid’s life by dealing with their depressive states as they arise.
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