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A Parent’s Guide to Teenage Depression

Most, if not all, teens will be sad from time to time. Maybe there’s strife among their friend group. Perhaps they didn’t make the sports team or get the part in a school play they wanted. Maybe they have a crush on someone, but that person doesn’t have the same feelings for them.

The high school years are full of emotional ups and downs.

Teenagers also tend to experience their emotions more profoundly than they did as children. Little kids get sad about something, cry, then find a new toy and move on.

It’s a lot tougher for teens to overcome their emotions. Even if they would rather be happy all the time, they might get stuck in a period of sadness. You might see your teen moping around the house or sitting in their room listening to sad music.

If your teen son seems to have a lot of sad days, he could be struggling with depression. While most teens will be depressed now and then, some teens have a hard time with it. Long-term depression can negatively influence everything from maintaining relationships with friends to following through with responsibilities.

If your child is battling teenage depression, you should take it seriously. Teens diagnosed with depression are more likely to have emotional and physical problems that can affect them throughout their lives. By intervening early, you can help your teen learn to overcome depression and live a healthy life.

Contact us today for more information about helping teens overcome depression.

Warning signs of teenage depression

Again, you can expect your kid to be sad sometimes. Teenage depression goes much further than just being a little sad, though.

Keep an eye out for these signs of teen depression:

  1. Withdrawing from activities that they used to like

  2. Withdrawing from relationships with people who they used to enjoy

  3. A significant change in sleeping patterns (sleeping more or sleeping less)

  4. A significant change in eating habits (eating more or eating less)

  5. Using or abusing substances

  6. Not following through with responsibilities anymore (i.e., suddenly not caring about their grades when they used to care)

  7. Having low energy all the time

  8. Having suicidal thoughts or talking about suicide

  9. Talking bad about themselves (i.e., calling themselves ugly, stupid, etc.)

  10. Expressing hopelessness

There are also a few red flags that make it more likely for a teen to develop depression.

If one of these red flags is present in your child’s life, pay extra attention to notice signs of depression:

  1. Family history of depression or suicide

  2. Family history of substance abuse

  3. Recent major life changes (i.e., parents getting a divorce, moving to a new town, etc.)

  4. The recent death of a loved one

  5. Recent injury or serious illness of a loved one

Helping your depressed teen

If your teenager is showing signs of depression, get help from trained professionals. Thankfully, there are numerous options for intervention to help teens manage their depression.

Some teen depression seems to fade as the child grows up. Others will struggle with depression even into adulthood. In either case, the outcome will be more positive if you address their depression early.

Talk to your teen

Teens who deal with depression daily don’t always know how to talk about their feelings. They might also worry that they’ll freak you out if they tell you how they’re feeling.

Let your teen know that you’ve noticed some changes in their behavior and that you’re concerned. Give them space to express their feelings, but don’t press them to talk if they don’t want to. Let them know that you’re available to talk whenever they need to and create a safe space for sharing openly about emotions.

Find supportive adults to help

Many teens don’t feel comfortable talking about their feelings at all, much less with their parents. They might feel embarrassed or awkward and worry about saying the wrong thing.

If your teen doesn’t want to talk to you, try to get another supportive adult to talk to them. This could include a guidance counselor at school, a sports or activity coach, an older cousin, or a family friend.

Talk to your child’s doctor

If your child is showing signs of teenage depression, talk to their doctor about it.

Their pediatrician or primary care physician should be able to meet with your teen, assess the situation, and give you advice for the next steps. In most instances, if your teen is suffering from depression, they’ll also need help from a mental health professional.

Get additional help

Some teens don’t see much progress while treating their depression at home. They’re still in the same situation, both at home and at school, and it can be tough to change when your environment stays the same.

If your teen’s depression isn’t improving with your current treatment plan, you may need to try something else. Many teens benefit from getting a change of scenery at a residential therapeutic boarding school.

While enrolled in the school, students still attend classes to earn high school credits, but they also receive individualized treatment plans to address their depression. The supportive environment of the school allows the boys to learn new life skills and new depression management strategies.

Contact us at 866-640-1899 to see if our school could be suitable for your son.

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