Is it teenage angst? Growing pains? Or is your teen experiencing depression? It can be hard to tell the difference. However, since an estimated 1 in 5 young people will have depression at some point during their teenage years, it’s important not to ignore changes in their mood.
Our behavioral health team at All Day Medical Care Clinic understands that depression can look very different in teens compared to adults. And they can help you spot the signs of a problem, so your teenager can get the help they need.
If your teen seems depressed, learn to recognize the signs of a depressive disorder and how you can help.
Life with a teenager can feel like riding a roller coaster. One moment they can seem up, and the next moment they can seem down. The unpredictable nature of those teenage years is part of what can make spotting the signs of depression so challenging. However, there are things that can indicate there’s an issue.
If your child has occasional bad moods or acts out from time to time, they likely have normal growing pains. Signs of depression, on the other hand, often continue for long periods of time. Signs of depression in teens often include:
It’s also common for teenagers to try going online to escape their emotions or problems, leading to smartphone and internet addiction. However, this behavior often increases their feelings of isolation and worsens their depression.
First, if you have concerns that your teen is depressed, don’t ignore it.
Seriously depressed teenagers, especially those self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, can have increased risks of suicide. Play it safe and talk with your teenager in a loving, nonjudgmental way.
Even if you don’t know if they have clinical depression, share your concerns and ask them to share in return. And, when you do, be ready and open to truly listen. Don’t bombard them with questions, as doing so could make them feel crowded or patronized. Instead, make them feel that you want to provide whatever support they need.
Additional strategies to helping a depressed teen include:
However, it’s also essential to know when to seek professional help.
Sometimes, a depressed teen needs more than parental support and lifestyle modifications. If your child’s symptoms seem severe, don’t wait to get professional help from a mental health professional who has advanced training and expertise.
When seeking a specialist, we recommend involving your teen in the process. It’s important for them to feel engaged and involved in their treatment, so listen to their preferences and find someone they feel comfortable with.
In many cases, talk therapy can treat mild to moderate cases of depression in teenagers. However, a skilled specialist with experience working with teens can offer a personalized treatment plan after evaluating your child.
Does your teen seem depressed? Schedule an initial consultation by calling 301-330-0006 or booking an appointment online with All Day Medical Care Clinic. We have locations in Gaithersburg, Urbana, and Silver Spring, Maryland.