Published on August 9th, 2019 | by admin0
Prevention of Teen Depression: Support Tips for Worried Parents
Young people will often experience anxiety and perhaps suffer mood swings as they struggle to figure out their place in the world and adapt to new expectations. It’s little wonder, considering how rapidly their lives start to shift when they face the changes of puberty, start worrying about college, and are given new levels of freedom. It’s not easy growing up, and difficulties are to be expected. Teen depression, however, is more serious than anxiety or general moodiness. It’s on the rise, and one in five teens is now estimated to suffer from clinical depression.
Teen depression is, unfortunately, also frequently misunderstood. Depression can lead to significant changes in behavior and have serious consequences if not treated. In the most severe cases, depression can even lead to suicide, and the rates have been dramatically increasing in young people. While causes for this are not certain, it is clear that there is a mental health crisis affecting young Americans. This should naturally be concerning for any parent and as much as one would like to prevent teen depression altogether, it isn’t always possible. There are, however, some things you can do if you’re concerned your teen may be dealing with depression.
Recognize the warning signs
It’s important to know whether your teen’s behavior is the usual acting out that is to be expected during the teenage years, or if it could be something more. The majority of teens who suffer from depression go untreated, so knowing the signs of depression and treating them seriously is important.
Depression often triggers intense feelings of shame, failure, and other negative emotions that lead to low self-esteem. It also tends to sap energy, which may translate into problems at school. Depression can also lead to high risk behaviors like reckless driving or substance abuse. Such instances must be taken seriously, as substance abuse only makes the problem worse. Excessive smartphone and internet use can also increase feelings of isolation, which is a major issue today’s teens face. In some cases, depression can also pair with other conditions, like eating disorders or self-harming behaviors. Of course, knowing the warning signs is only the first step, but there are things you can do to help.
See teen depression clearly
There are many myths surrounding teen depression. One of the most unfortunate is the idea that depression is just something that happens to someone, or is simply they’re “wired.” You have to understand that your personal outlook and the world can be learned or unlearned, and it’s just the same for a depressed teen. Depression is not who they are, and realizing this is a crucial step toward recovery.
Childhood anxiety can sometimes develop into depression later in a teen’s life as they are caught between the desire to succeed and the fear of failing. Teens often hold the idea that they must be perfect, and they desire for things to be certain. Neither of these are realistic expectations. Helping teens to normalize the ideas of uncertainty and failure is critical to their recovery. No one has the ability to be perfect, but anyone can learn the problem solving skills needed for when things inevitably go wrong. Sometimes teens just need to know that anxiety is a normal feeling, and they need to be supported as they make their own choices.
While there is still a stigma regarding seeking help for mental health, it’s important for anyone to realize there is no shame in seeking treatment. Doing so shows that you recognize there is a problem, which is a significant step toward improvement. If you are concerned that you can’t help your teen enough on your own, there are treatment centers for depressed teenagers that can provide them with what they need. Parental support is absolutely crucial for any struggling teen, but sometimes a combination of parental love and outside help is what’s truly needed.
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