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The Storms of Youth: Troubled Teens or Depression Signs?

Depression is a real mental health disorder and can seriously impact every aspect of a teen’s life. Although it can affect people of all ages, it is especially tough for a teenager to deal with. While it is normal for a teen to act out or be moody sometimes, depression is different and isn't something to be shrugged off. Depression can destroy the very essence of a teenager’s personality, causing an overwhelming sense of sadness, despair, or anger.

Depression in teens imageSymptoms of Depression in Teens
Teens are typically moody and signs of depression can be missed. If you suspect your teen may be depressed get help as soon as possible. Below are the most common signs and symptoms of depression in teenagers:

• Fatigue or lack of energy
• Loss of interest in activities
• Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
• Sadness or hopelessness
• Irritability, anger, or hostility
• Tearfulness or frequent crying
• Withdrawal from friends and family
• Restlessness and agitation
• Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
• Difficulty concentrating
• Thoughts of death or suicide
• Changes in eating and sleeping habits

The difference between adult and teenage depression

Depression in teens can reveal itself in a very different forms than depression in adults. The following symptoms of depression are more common in teenagers than in adults:
Unexplained aches and pains - Depressed teens often complain about physical sicknesses such as headaches or stomach aches. If a thorough physical exam does not reveal a medical cause, these aches and pains quite probably may indicate depression.
Irritable or angry mood –Irritability is frequently the prevalent mood in depressed teens. A depressed teenager may be easily frustrated, grumpy, hostile, and prone to angry outbursts.
Extreme sensitivity to criticism - Depressed teens are loaded with feelings of worthlessness, making them extremely vulnerable to criticism, rejection, and any failure.
Withdrawing - While adults tend to isolate themselves completely when depressed, teenagers usually keep up at least some friendships. However, teens with depression may socialize much less than before, pull away from their parents, or start hanging out with a different company.

Treatments for Depression in Teens
Treatments for teens who are depressed may include Psychotherapy or talk therapy. Medications such as antidepressants might also be prescribed. While on anti depression medications your teen should be monitored as some of the antidepressants may cause suicidal thoughts and some teens may actually attempt it. Good support is essential to teen's recovery.

Herbs for depressed teenagers are most definitely an option for treatment. Many herbs can be used as seasonings and other herbs, like Chamomile, can be brewed into teas. Some others such as Dandelion can be used in salads. As with any change to a health plan you should consult with doctor to determine if herbs are acceptable in treating your teen's depression and if there are any conflicts with prescriptions they may be taking.

Untreated Depression in Teens Can Lead to many problems, such as:

Depression in teens picture
Problems at school
Depression causes low energy and concentration difficulties. At school, this may lead to poor attendance, a drop in grades, or frustration with schoolwork.
Running away
Many depressed teens run away from home or talk about running away. Such attempts are usually is a cry for help.
Substance abuse
Teens may try alcohol or drugs in an attempt to relieve their depression. Unfortunately, substance abuse only makes things worse.
Eating disorders
Anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and yo-yo dieting are often signs of unrecognized depression in teens.
Internet addiction
Teenagers may go online trying escape from their problems. But excessive computer use only increases isolation and makes them more depressed.
Cutting, burning, and other kinds of self-mutilation are almost always associated with depression.
Reckless behavior
Depressed teens may engage in dangerous or high-risk behaviors, such as reckless driving, out-of-control drinking, and unsafe sex.
Some depressed teens (usually boys who are the victims of bullying) become violent. As in the case of the Columbine school massacre, self-hatred and a wish to die can erupt into violence and homicidal rage.
Teens who are seriously depressed often think, speak, or make attempts at suicide. Suicidal thoughts or behaviors should always be taken very seriously.

Helpful Hints
Get help for your teen is imperative. Make sure all appointments are kept and if medicine is prescribed be sure your teen is actually taking it. Provide them a healthy diet and help them to get enough sleep. Your teen should be encouraged to keep a journal and allow them to share it or not. It could reveal patterns of behavior or through the writing your teen may discover new things about themselves. If your teen is talking about committing suicide, first call 911 and then call their therapist. Above all else, let your teen know how much you love them.

Teen Depression Facts and Myths

Myth #1: Teens do not really get depressed. It's just hormones or moodiness.
While it is true that bouts of sadness or occasional moodiness can be part of the teen years, these moods usually pass quickly. But when feelings of intense sadness linger for several weeks, it may be a sign of clinical depression.

Myth #2: Teens who get depressed just need to toughen up and pull themselves together.
This type of thinking will only make the depression worse. Depression is not a sign of weakness; it's a very real mental disorder.

Myth #3: Talking about depression will only make it worse.
Talking with a trained therapist will help teenager find positive ways to deal with boiling emotions, work on coping and communication skills, and develop better ways to handle relationships. Whether it is therapy or a combination of therapy and medication, teens can find relief from depression and get their lives back.

If you feel your teen is experiencing depression, let them know that help is available and that you are there to support them. With proper help and attention, things can get better.



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