If you have noticed signs of depression in your teenager lately and are worried about him or her, it might be wise to take the teen to a doctor. Depression in teens is not uncommon. In fact, approximately 20% of all teens in the U.S. suffer from depression at some point in their life before they become adults. Here are three important things to understand about teens and depression.
The Signs of Depression
Everyone can feel sad and depressed from time to time, but this is primarily when something bad or disappointing occurs in life. Feeling depressed on occasion is quite normal, but feeling depressed most of the time or all of the time is not normal. This is often called clinical depression, and there are a lot of different signs and symptoms you may see in your teen that can help you know if he or she is suffering from depression. Here are some of the signs:
- Lost interest in things he or she once enjoyed – Is your teen no longer interested in the things he or she once had a passion for? If so, this is a common sign of depression.
- Feeling hopeless – If your teen appears sad all the time and hopeless, this too could be a sign of depression.
- Reckless behavior – A lot of teens will act out recklessly when depressed, simply because they do not know how to cope with their feelings. This can lead to drug abuse, cutting, or many other things.
- Isolation – People who are depressed will also tend to isolate themselves, even though this tends to worsen the symptoms of depression.
If these are the types of things you are noticing with your teen, he or she may need help to overcome the depression he or she is struggling with.
Why Teens Get Depressed
No one is absolutely certain why teens today are so depressed, but there are theories that experts believe that might explain this. One theory is that kids today are raised with unrealistic expectations. Because of this, when life interferes with the way kids think life should be, they feel depressed. Another theory is that kids today are not taught how to cope with problems or solve problems. This too may leave them depressed and hopeless.
It's also important to note that some teens are at a higher risk for developing depression. Girls, for example, have a much greater chance of developing depression. Teens who were abused also are at a higher risk.
How a Doctor Can Help
Going to a primary care physician is typically a good first step to take for a teen that suffers from depression. The doctor your teen sees can perform a depression screening, which is simply a questionnaire the doctor uses to determine if the teen might have depression.
This questionnaire asks a lot of questions about the way the teen feels and thinks. It also asks questions about the teen's frame of mind relating to suicide, and it asks about the teen's sleep habits.
The answers to these questions can help the doctor know how to proceed. In most cases, doctors will recommend antidepressants to help regulate the chemicals in the brain. These can make a world of difference; however, it often takes trying several types before a person is able to find the right one. Each type acts slightly different with people, so it's important to be open to change if necessary.
The doctor may also tell you to seek therapy help for the teen. Therapy is helpful because it allows the teen to talk about how he or she feels. This can help the teen make sense of the thoughts he or she has, and it can help the teen learn how to cope with things in life.
If you are concerned about your teen, talk to a doctor. A doctor is the best step to take for help, and a doctor can also help you learn other methods for coping with depression. For more information, contact companies like Rural Health Services Consortium Inc.