Don`t confuse moodiness with depression
These days, we recognize more and more that the pressures put on our children do indeed bring on depression. There was a time that if a teenager — or an adult for that matter — suffered from depression, it was kept silent, and only certain members of the family were aware of the problem (if they were aware at all).
Today, that is no longer the case. There has been so much research done in the area of depression that it is now an “open” topic. Thankfully, teenagers are more aware that they are not alone with their feelings or problems and that help is available.
Teenagers are often moody. That is a natural part of being a teenager, and it is caused by the chemical changes in the brain as they go through puberty. However, moodiness should not be confused with depression — and vice versa.
The symptoms of depression in teenagers include:
• Irritability anger or hostility
• Withdrawal from friends, family, and usual activities
• Sadness or hopelessness
• Changes in sleeping patterns
• Changes in appetite
• Lack of motivation
• Difficulty focusing
• Difficulty making decisions
• Thoughts of suicide and increased thoughts of death in general
Aside from these general symptoms of depression, one must be aware that teenagers express their feelings in ways that are different than most adults. For example, your child may start experiencing problems at school, run away from home, start experimenting with and abusing drugs or alcohol, develop an eating disorder, become addicted to the Internet, injure themselves on purpose, become violent, have a general reckless behavior, or attempt suicide.
Treatment for a depressed teen starts at home, where the parents need to discover whether the child is depressed or not or whether something else may be causing the problem.
It is important that your teen understands that he or she is loved and accepted and that you are there for them. An appointment with a family doctor is needed, and he or she will most likely point you to a specialist that is qualified to deal with teenagers depression.