When your kids were little, it was easy to swoop in and rescue them when they were hurt or upset. Most of the time, loving parental reassurance was all it took to calm their fears and soothe their anxieties.
Fast-forward to adolescence, and your child’s worries and emotions suddenly seem a whole lot more complex. More often than not, the changes and challenges they face require you to limit your role as a problem-solving caregiver and expand your role as a supportive listener.
This is especially true for teens who are struggling with depression.
As mental health experts who specialize in treating adolescents, our team at EXIS Recovery understands it can be hard for parents to tell when their teenager is experiencing normal mood changes or going through something more serious. That’s why we’re here to help.
Our experts outline the common signs and symptoms of depression in teens and share how you can get your child the help they need.
Occasional feelings of sadness, doubt, dissatisfaction, worry, anger, and listlessness are part of every teen’s life. But when a young person feels low, irritable, or detached most of the time, or when they’re no longer interested in things they used to enjoy, they may be experiencing the effects of depression.
The warning signs of depression are often different for young people than they are for adults. Similarly, depression symptoms can vary widely among teens and may be expressed in different ways in early adolescence versus late adolescence.
Behaviors that are seen in teens with depression may include:
While they may try to hide how they’re feeling, teens who are depressed usually experience a combination of persistent emotional changes, including:
Adolescents with depression may experience physical symptoms, too, such as unexplained headaches, body aches, and digestive issues. They may also engage in acts of self-harm like cutting or burning.
One of the main problems for teens who experience depression is that their behavioral and emotional changes are often seen by others as normal “mood swings” brought on by puberty, adolescent angst, increased social pressures, or mounting expectations at school.
This means that the warning signs of teenage depression often go ignored until something alarming occurs, whether it’s aggressive self-harm, risk-taking behaviors that lead to a serious accident, or a suicide attempt.
No parent wants to see their teen slip into the dire straits of depression. Knowing how to spot the warning signs of this destructive mood disorder is the first big step toward getting them the help and support they need to shift their situation.
If you suspect that your teen is depressed, talk with them. Let them know you’re there to listen without judgement. As you offer your unconditional support, be aware of how you might come across to your teen. The most well-intentioned parents don’t realize that their concern often seems critical, rather than loving, to a teen in crisis.
More importantly, don’t hesitate to get professional help for your child. Depression isn’t just something they can “shake off” or overcome on their own; it’s a major mood disorder that requires medical and/or psychological treatment, meaningful guidance, and steadfast support.
The good news is that depression is treatable, and a prompt diagnosis combined with comprehensive care can help your teen feel whole and healthy once again.
Call 424-244-3513 today to reach our office in West Los Angeles, California, or use the easy online booking tool to schedule an appointment with one of our trusted mental health experts any time.