The adolescent years can be really tough for many kids, and it’s very normal to feel sad or irritated from time to time. However, if these feelings are happening on a regular basis and they are real intense that you can’t handle them, you might be suffering from depression.
The first thing you need to do is to determine if this is true depression or just typical teenage mood and hormonal swings. You cannot always go by the typical symptoms an adult with depression has.Teens symptoms can be very different. Some of the more common symptoms are being irritable, extreme intolerance for being criticized, withdrawal from people and or activities that they always enjoyed before. Sometimes they act out in a rebellious way.
Talking with your family members and letting them know you are feeling depressed or anxious can be a really good idea. It is really important for family members to be there for the teen and really listen and observe their behavior. Try to get them to talk about how they are feeling or let them know that you have noticed that they seem to always be sad. Sometimes it is not always what they say but how they behave that will help you make your decision about getting professional help or not.
After talking with your child and watching their behavior you might decide to seek professional help. That is a very hard step for many because sometimes it is hard to know for sure. Some of the signs to look for are loss of appetite, a sense of hopelessness, lack of interest in their favorite activities and deep dark thoughts. Sometimes they will not open up to you to know that they are having these thoughts so you may have to read their diary or if they write poetry read that. Sometimes if you are close enough to their friends you can talk to them. If your child is experiencing these symptoms they may have clinical depression.
Many times a therapist will recommend putting them on some type of medication to treat the depression. If this is the case then I would recommend using a psychiatrist for this because a psychologist cannot write prescriptions for medication and a psychiatrist can. That way the psychiatrist can counsel and monitor the medication accordingly. Monitoring the teens medication is extremely important! All medications are not created equal and there is no measuring stick to go by when administering them. What works for one person may not work for another. In some cases the medication can actually cause suicidal thoughts.
When taking these medications it is really important that alcohol and other drugs are avoided as they can cause some really bad problems. If your child needs to take other medications be sure that if it is a prescription that the doctor knows what your child is taking. If it is over the counter be sure to read the package carefully. If you have any doubts always ask the pharmacist or call the psychiatrist.
Another thing to do is promote a healthy diet. If a teen has been depressed for a while chances are their eating habits have robbed their body of the nutrition that they desperately need. A good multiple vitamin and omega 3 supplements would be a good start as well as eating lean meats and fresh vegetables and fruits. This should kick-start the brain and help it to function on a healthier level and in time promote a more positive outlook on life. Once they start to feel better incorporate some kind of exercise in their routine. Exercise promotes a much happier mood too.
The last tip is do not let the depressed teen isolate themselves. Often times the one who is depressed would rather be alone but that is the last thing they need to do. If you are around people who are up-beat and having a good time then your chances of not feeling “blue” are going to go way down. Laughter is a great mood enhancer! Another thing you can do is help someone in need. Sometimes when you do something for someone else it takes your mind of your own problems.
Depression is a very serious issue but it is also treatable. If you feel that you may be suffering from it then seek help. A great place to start is with your family and friends. Together you can see what the next step may be. The main thing to remember is that it is not your fault and that you did not do anything wrong to cause it.