Adolescents are generally moody and thus it is not easy to identify if they are depressed and need help. However, one of the first signs that you may perhaps notice is the teenager not doing things that they earlier were interested in. There may be changes in their mood like they may get irritated easily or mostly look sad. Behavioral symptoms may also be noticed like a change in energy level, appetite, academic performance, and sleep patterns. If you notice such changes then chances are the teen is suffering from depression.
Types of Depression
There are basically two types of depression – major depressive disorder and dysthymia. A major depressive disorder is the most common type. In this case, there can be severe episodes that can last anywhere between seven to nine months.
In the case of dysthymia, the symptoms may be milder but they last for a longer time, and a person can suffer from it for years. It is true that dysthymia may not be that devastating for a kid, but there are chances of higher damage, because the child will be experiencing the problem for years, and does not enjoy healthy development during this period.
Why Early Treatment Is Important
When a kid is depressed what he suffers from is not the sole reason to seek help. Together with the suffering come other issues like poor concentration and low energy that can have a great impact on the academic as well as the social life of the teenager.
As the child is unable to cope in school it affects their self-image and confidence, and if this continues then it can have a huge impact on his future. Social skills are also important and lagging behind other kids of their age in this domain may further aggravate their condition.
Depression and Anxiety Are Two Different Problems Requiring Different Attention
You need to understand that a depressed kid may also be suffering from anxiety and these are two different problems needing separate attention. Depression can pave the way to anxiety. If you do not feel good, confident, safe or secure about your own self then it may not take long for you to develop anxiety. Also, the regions of your brain that can be affected by depression and anxiety are situated very close, and this can also be one of the reasons for anxiety to develop.
If a kid is depressed and is also suffering from anxiety two big problems that can then crop up is substance abuse and suicidal behavior or thinking. Suicide, in fact, is the third common cause behind young adult ranging from 15 to 24 taking their lives. Most of these kids suffer from psychiatric illness. Those kids who try to hide their depression from near ones are more at risk. This is why you need to be very observant of signs like changes in eating habits, school performance, sleeping patterns, withdrawal, and when they stop doing things they earlier liked.
Most of the teenagers who get into the habit of substance abuse also suffer from psychiatric problems, particularly depression or anxiety, and thus you have more reasons to treat these conditions without a wait.
If treatment is considered during the early phase then the problem can be cured easily and thus chances of loss in life is also reduced.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common treatment, and if the child is too young then the parents too may need to participate in the sessions. Depressed children mostly evaluate themselves in a negative way, what others do is also seen by them in a negative light, and they mostly think of the worst outcome for any event. In cognitive behavioral therapy, children are taught how to overcome these negative thoughts, to understand the pattern, and they get to learn to think in a different way. Great improvements are noticed in most cases.
In certain cases, where the condition may be moderate to high, antidepressants too may be prescribed. If medications and psychotherapy are both seriously followed the results are sure to be great.
To Conclude –
Depression in teenagers or even adults must never be taken lightly. Even if just a few of the symptoms mentioned above are noticed you should get the help of doctors without delay. Timely treatment can prevent more serious harm and your kid can start living a normal and happy life yet again.
If you find yourself or someone you know showing signs of depression, contact your local depression therapist or socail worker.