EARLY WARNING SIGNS FOR TEENAGE DEPRESSION
Teen depression signs and symptoms include a change from the teenager's previous attitude and behavior that can cause significant distress and problems at school or home, in social activities or other areas of life.
Depression symptoms can vary in severity, but changes in your teen's emotions and behavior may indicate a larger problem.
Strong, positive relationships with others can be protective and prevent against suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Connectedness between individuals can lead to increased frequency of social contact, lowered levels of social isolation or loneliness, and an increased number of positive relationships.
Positive attachments between youth, their families and organizations in their community are important and can increase youth’s feelings of belonging, strengthen their sense of identity and personal worth, and provide access to larger sources of support. Community organizations may include schools, and other youth-serving, Tribal, and faith-based organizations.
Be alert for emotional changes, such as:vFeelings of sadness, which can include crying spells for no apparent reasonvFeeling hopeless or emptyvIrritable or annoyed moodvFrustration or feelings of anger, even over small mattersvLoss of interest or pleasure in normal activitiesvLoss of interest in, or conflict with, family and friendsvLow self-esteemvFeelings of worthlessness or guiltvFixation on past failures or exaggerated self-blame or self-criticismvExtreme sensitivity to rejection or failure, and the need for excessive reassurancevTrouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering thingsvOngoing sense that life and the future are grim and bleakvFrequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide Source:: Mayo Clinic
Behavioral changesvTiredness and loss of energyvInsomnia or sleeping too muchvChanges in appetite — decreased appetite and weight loss, or increased cravings for food and weight gainvUse of alcohol or drugsvAgitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit stillvSlowed thinking, speaking or body movementsvFrequent complaints of unexplained body aches and headaches, which may include frequent visits to the school nursevSocial isolationvPoor school performance or frequent absences from schoolvNeglected appearancevAngry outbursts, disruptive or risky behavior, or other acting-out behaviorsvSelf-harm — for example, cutting, burning, or excessive piercing or tattooingvMaking a suicide plan or a suicide attemptvIt can be difficult to tell the difference between ups and downs that are just part of being a teenager and teen depression. Talk with your teen. Try to determine whether he or she seems capable of managing challenging feelings, or if life seems overwhelming.
Source Mayo Clinic
What Parents Need to Know:
1. Know your facts 2. Recognize the warning signs 3. Know the risk factors
4. Know the protective factorsØ Problem solving skillsØ Conflict resolutionØ Ability to handling problems in a nonviolent wayØ Strong connections to family, friends, and community supportØ Restricted from lethal means of suicideØ Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support self-preservationØ Access to servicesØ Support through ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
5. Take preventive measuresØ Interact with your teen positivelyØ Increase his/her involvement in positive activities (promote involvement in clubs/sports)Ø Appropriately monitor your teen’s whereabouts and communications (texting, Facebook, Twitter).Ø Be aware of your teen’s social environment (friends, teammates, coaches)Ø Communicate regularly with your teen’s teachers to ensure safety at schoolØ Limit your teen’s access to alcohol, prescription pills, illegal drugs, knives and gunsØ Talk with your teen about your concerns; ask him/her directly about suicidal thoughtsØ Explain the value of therapy and medication to manage symptoms.Ø Address your concerns with other adults in your child’s life (teachers, coaches, family)Ø Discuss your concerns with his/her pediatrician to seek mental health referrals
6. Talk to your teen about suicide
7. Last but not least, seek support from mental health services if necessaryhttps://psychologybenefits.org/2013/09/23/prevent-teen-suicide
Treating Adolescent Depression
It is extremely important that depressed teens receive prompt, professional treatment.
Depression is serious and, if left untreated, can worsen to the point of becoming life-threatening. If depressed teens refuse treatment, it may be necessary for family members or other concerned adults to seek professional advice.
Please see additional information about suicide prevention
Therapy can help teens understand why they are depressed and learn how to cope with stressful situations. Depending on the situation, treatment may consist of individual, group or family counseling. Medications that can be prescribed by a psychiatrist may be necessary to help teens feel better.
Some of the most common and effective ways to treat depression in adolescents are:
- Psychotherapy provides teens an opportunity to explore events and feelings that are painful or troubling to them. Psychotherapy also teaches them coping skills.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps teens change negative patterns of thinking and behaving.
- Interpersonal therapy focuses on how to develop healthier relationships at home and at school.
- Medication relieves some symptoms of depression and is often prescribed along with therapy.
When depressed adolescents recognize the need for help, they have taken a major step toward recovery. However, remember that few adolescents seek help on their own. They may need encouragement from their friends and support from concerned adults to seek help and follow treatment recommendations.
Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/teen-depression/symptoms-causes/dxc-20164556