According to the CDC, approximately 2.7 million children aged between 3 and 17 are diagnosed with depression. This statistic shows that teen depression is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Furthermore, teen depression is also linked to anxiety, substance abuse, and even suicide.
If you suspect that your teen is experiencing depression, it’s important that you act to prevent this situation from escalating. Continue looking for telltale signs of depression and learn what to do when your teen is depressed.
Teen Depression Explained
Teenagers face more environmental and social stressors than teenagers of the past. As such, many teenagers experience depression, and they don’t know how to find help.
Many factors can cause teen depression, such as biological factors like their genes. Furthermore, outside factors can increase or exacerbate depression symptoms. Bullying, mental health conditions, physical health conditions, stress, and lack of support are all common examples of causes of depression in teenagers.
Alcohol and drug use can further worsen the symptoms, even if the teenager is using it to soothe depressive feelings.
Signs Your Teen Is Experiencing Depression
Even though it is widely believed that teenagers experience depression, most parents do not know what to look for in terms of depression. Teenagers typically show signs of depression that are different from symptoms of depression in adults.
Some signs that your teen is experiencing depression include:
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Sensitivity to criticism
- Withdrawing from some people, but not all
- Problems at school
- Loss of interest in activities
- Running away
- Low self-esteem
- Reckless behavior
- Sudden changes in sleep or diet
- Technology addiction
Teenage depression and suicide often go hand in hand. In addition to the symptoms above, here are some suicide warning signs to watch out for:
- Jokes about committing suicide
- Saying things like, “I wish I could disappear,” “I have no way out,” “I’d be better off dead,” etc.
- Romanticizing death
- Writing stories or creating art about death
- Reckless behavior
- Suddenly giving away possessions
- Suddenly saying goodbye to close friends and family members
- Seeking ways to kill themselves
If you suspect that your teenager is suicidal, it’s important that you act fast. Contact the national suicide prevention lifeline For more information at 1-800-273-TALK.
What to Do When Your Teen Is Depressed: Tips
In the case that your teenager appears depressed but not suicidal, it’s best to open up a dialogue with your child. Explain what actions are bothering you and ask your child to talk. It’s more important to listen to your child than to lecture. Keep questions to a minimum.
During the conversation, be gentle and acknowledge their feelings. Do not try to talk your child out of feeling depressed because they will often feel unheard and misunderstood. Although you should be gentle, be persistent in showing your child unconditional love.
Unfortunately, not all children will open up. It’s important that you remind your child how much you love them. It’s also a good idea to get help from a trusted third party. A mental health professional, a school counselor, or a teacher may be able to help. It’s most important that you get them talking, whether it be to you or someone else.
It is important to know when your child needs professional help. If your teenager’s depression is worsening or is becoming accompanied by anxiety or panic attacks, it’s a good idea to get professional help. Alcohol and drug use also are signs of needed medical intervention.
If Drug or Alcohol Use is Suspected, Call Veritas Detox Today
Teenage depression can sometimes escalate to alcohol use and drug use, which then spirals out of control. If you suspect your teenager is using drugs or alcohol, contact Veritas Detox for comprehensive rehabilitation treatment. If you suspect your teenager is using drugs or alcohol, contact Veritas Detox for comprehensive rehabilitation treatment.