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Teen Depression: What to Do if Your Teenager is Showing Signs of Depression

3 Oct 2014 – 02:30 PM EDT

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If your child is showing signs of teen depression, there are ways you can support them and find them the help they need. The medical condition depression effects all ages, all races and it isn’t something that can be “snapped out of” overnight. As parents, it is important to understand that teenagers go through a variety of ups and downs during puberty and this is not to be thought of as clinical depression.

If your teenager starts showing signs of depression such as loss of interest in activities, constant sadness or loss of appetite, you will probably need to take your teenager to be assessed by a doctor. In the meantime, make sure your child knows you are there for them and that you always will be regardless of whatever they have to go through to heal. This is when pure unconditional love is most important. Nowadays, there are more and more kids affected by teen depression, but there are many helpful resources out there for teenagers that parents can use.

Identifying Teen Depression

The first plan of action is to identify what is happening with your teenager. It is very important that parents look out for these common signs of teenage depression before assuming or coming to their own conclusions.

  • Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy I.e. Sports, creative activities, hanging out with friends
  • Changes in appetite, weight and eating patterns.
  • Excessive late-night activities, waking up late for school or too much or too little sleep.
  • Critical of themselves, excessive sensitivity to rejection and feelings of worthlessness.
  • Withdrawal from friends, social activities and even family get togethers.
  • Isolating themselves on a constant basis.
  • A drop in grades and poor performance at school.
  • Sad, moody and a belief that life “sucks” on a regular basis.

Seek Resources and Help
The next course of action is to find the appropriate help for your teenager. Many high schools offer a form of counseling to their students. There are also many mental health outreach centers and community centers that may offer advice on who you can turn to. Sometimes the best person to turn to initially is your family doctor that has known your teen for years. Sit down with the doctor and your teen and allow your teen to describe how she is feeling. If the symptoms sound like those of depression, the family doctor will most likely do a referral to a psychiatrist, psychotherapist or general therapist. While most cases of depression are treated with medication, this condition is best treated along with individual or group therapy.

Be Supportive

If you believe your child is suffering from teen depression, be as supportive as you can. Allow them to talk when they want to talk and share and give them time to themselves when needed. Your teen needs you more than ever, now but avoid smothering them. Just make sure they know that you are there for them all the time, whenever they may need your help or a warm hug.