Teenagers do not have any easy task. They are ask to take on more and more responsibility much of the time while they are still struggling with the longing to be cared for and nurtured. "Normal" teenage development sometimes can trigger the signs of depression and even suicide. The difference between what is considered to be "normal" and what not is in the watching for signals of depression, how long it lasts and how intense it may become.
Nearly every teenage goes through that rebellious stage: not wanting to do daily hygiene tasks or sleeping late, wearing the same cloths and the inevitable disrespectful tones towards authority. It is important to monitor our teenagers and watch to see if these issues continue and determine if they are becoming more serious. It is especially important to see if other signs of severe depression and perhaps suicidal ideation enter into picture.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has compiled a list of some things parents should be watching for if they are concerned that their teenager is suffering from severe depression. Besides an excess of some of the above behaviors there may be significant changes in your child's eating patterns. This can be either eating less or considerably more. Changes in sleep are also significant. While teens tend to want to stay up later and sleep in during the day, the difference is a consistent pattern of change. Teenager depression may be seen when your child is withdrawing more and more from family and peers. If your teen is suddenly not caring about his/her appearance, school work is declining, there is a significant loss of interest in activities, changes in personality and complaints of physical symptoms there may be cause for more concern and signs that your teenager is experiencing a more severe level of depression.
Keep the lines of communication open with your adolescent. Create times for talking, be open and non-judgmental. Take any concerns your child voices seriously. Listen beyond their words. Often people in general don't even say what they truly mean, however, it is written on their face, in their body language, tone of voice, and in their actions. If your teen is resistant to talking, do something else together. This opens a place where words and conversations can flow more easily.
Recognized that there are several factors that can play a role in teenage depression and there are some that are beyond control as a parent. A family history of depression, suicide or other mental illness; substance abuse, a history of having been bullied at school, or significant losses in the family, an adolescent may be more prone to teenage depression.
If you have concerns it is always better to step in as soon as you feel something may be going on, and to obtain the proper help for your teenager. Some of the experts recommend that the best treatment for teenage depression is a combination of psychotherapy and medication. This is something that can be discussed with the Therapist you find for your child. It is important to look for someone who is an expert in adolescent depression and who has worked with teenagers and their families for a while. Making sure that your teenager is a part of the process in choosing the right therapist is important. Many adolescents, especially teenager suffering with depression may be hesitant about seeking any help at all. If you are able to find someone you and your teen feel comfortable with, the benefits will be much greater.
Getting the help is the most important step in help your adolescent work through teenage depression.