Teens, Anxiety, & Depression
Updated: Nov 23, 2018
Teenagers face a host of pressures, from the changes of puberty to questions about who they are and where they fit in. With all this turmoil and uncertainty, it isn’t always easy to differentiate between normal teenage growing pains and depression. But teen depression goes beyond moodiness. It’s a serious health problem that impacts every aspect of a teen’s life. Fortunately, it’s treatable and parents can help. Your love, guidance, and support can go a long way toward helping your teen overcome depression and get their life back on track.
The teen years can be extremely tough and depression affects teenagers far more often than many of us realize. In fact, it’s estimated that one in five adolescents from all walks of life will suffer from depression at some point during their teen years. However, while depression is highly treatable, most depressed teens never receive help.
While occasional bad moods or acting out is to be expected during the teenage years, depression is something different. The negative effects of teenage depression go far beyond a melancholy mood. Depression can destroy the essence of your teen’s personality, causing an overwhelming sense of sadness, despair, or anger. Many rebellious and unhealthy behaviors or attitudes in teenagers can be indications of depression. The following are some the ways in which teens “act out” in an attempt to cope with their emotional pain:
Problems at school. Depression can cause low energy and concentration difficulties. At school, this may lead to poor attendance, a drop in grades, or frustration with schoolwork in a formerly good student.
Running away. Many depressed teens run away from home or talk about running away. Such attempts are usually a cry for help.
Drug and alcohol abuse. Teens may use alcohol or drugs in an attempt to “self-medicate” their depression. Unfortunately, substance abuse only makes things worse.
Low self-esteem. Depression can trigger and intensify feelings of ugliness, shame, failure, and unworthiness.
Smartphone addiction. Teens may go online to escape their problems, but excessive smartphone and Internet use only increases their isolation, making them more depressed.
Reckless behavior. Depressed teens may engage in dangerous or high-risk behaviors, such as reckless driving, binge drinking, and unsafe sex.
As a mom of 4 children myself (yes, 3 are teenagers!), I can’t speak enough to knowing your child and what makes them unique; no one knows your child like you do and oftentimes you might see things your teen isn’t even aware of.
Pay attention to that “gut instinct.” It’s a parent’s job to be the parent even when a moody teen is pushing you away; the teens that have the toughest behavior are the ones that need the most love and support.
Here is a helpful article on what you, as parents, can do to help your teenager..