How to Identify Depression in Teenagers
Being subjected to bad moods and periods of rebelliousness is a norm for parents of teenagers. However, there are signs and symptoms that parents can look out for that will help them identify depression in their children so that early intervention can take place.
Depression is an all-encompassing illness, where emotions like sadness, anger, and despair are so overwhelming it becomes difficult to function normally in society.
Parents are likely to see when a teenager is depressed, and symptoms include lethargy, school grades going down, substance abuse, addiction to social media/internet, low self-esteem, violence, and behaviour that poses a threat to themselves and others.
A depressed teen might often talk of running away or romanticize suicidal thoughts. They will show a marked change in their eating and sleeping patterns.
Statistics to take into consideration:
- Young women report a higher percentage of Anxiety
- 27% of survey participants reported feeling anxiety
- And 15% reported symptoms of depression
- 1 in 2 children feel less motivated to do activities they normally enjoy
These statistics make it quite clear that the ongoing pandemic has had a big impact on adolescents. Many parents are overwhelmed, which is understandable, given the rapid changes brought on by the pandemic. You’re very likely doing the best you can as a parent in this challenging time. We want to remind you that there is light on the horizon, and things won’t always be this way.
Having a discussion with your teen
As we all know, teens are more often than not very reluctant to talk about their feelings. Especially not with their parents. Nonetheless, when you notice a change in your child’s behaviour that merit a discussion.
here are some things to keep in mind.
- Choosing the right time is crucial. Trying to convey your point after you and your child argued will fall onto deaf ears. Pick your opportunity and then sit them down for a discussion.
- Don’t assume you know what goes on in your child’s mind; let them try and communicate their point before you react or interrupt them.
- Be stern about what concerns you about their behaviour, but avoid sounding like you are attacking them.
- Let them know that you have noticed how hard things have become for them lately and that you care for them.
- If you have ever experienced depression before, letting your child know that you have been in their shoes can help them relate. Conversation can be a powerful tool if the approach is timed correctly.
- Prepare for some push-back from your teen. Parents avoid having these conversations more often than not due to the fear that it might not play out the way they want it to. However, you might be surprised at how thankful your child is after the conversation.