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Symptoms of Teenage Depression

How to diagnose teenage depression

In adolescence, it is rather difficult to diagnose depression, since its symptoms do not have obvious differences, especially at the initial stage.

At the very beginning of depression, a teenager may behave as usual, and signs of depression will manifest itself in the form of nightmares, dark thoughts, fears, etc. At this stage, depression can only be detected if you maintain constant close emotional contact with the teenager ... In this case, he may want to share his thoughts and experiences with you. Even in the middle stage of depression, the teenager also behaves and speaks as usual. However, here the content of his conversations is emotionally colored, he concerns, first of all, themes that oppress him, such as death, illness, crises. But since adults today are also plagued by pessimistic thoughts, a teen's depression may go unnoticed. If a teenager says, “Everything in the world is getting so bad that it would be better just to die,” this confirms the moderate stage of depression. Specific physiological disorders can already be observed here: problems with sleep and appetite, inability to function normally in various areas, lack of concentration and almost constant weakness and apathy.

Depression in adolescents is difficult to recognize because they skillfully mask it, i.e. they can hide it so much that everyone will think that everything is fine with them, even if in fact the teenager is infinitely unhappy. This phenomenon is called smile depression. A teenager puts on such a mask unconsciously, and this mainly happens in the presence of strangers. And when these teenagers are alone, they dump it.

How to diagnose teenage depression

In its most general form, the symptoms of adolescent depression are as follows:

As we can see, the picture of the experience of adolescent depression is very sad, and its consequences are the most unpredictable. Obviously, the question arises, how to protect your child from depression?

First of all, you need to understand the reasons why depression occurs in adolescents.

Causes of teenage depression:

During puberty, crises are inevitable: hormonal changes in the body and the resulting emotional instability are "successfully" combined with the moment of reassessment of all life attitudes, the search for answers to "non-childish" questions, and a change in the nature of social interaction.

Add to this the first interest in sexuality, falling in love, as well as the growing pressure from the school, the approaching exams and the need to choose a future fate hanging over all high school students. And self-doubt is well supported by hormonal changes in the body (including weight), acne and mood swings.

Relations with parents are also most often affected: children can no longer accept the established "childish" roles, and parents are not yet ready to abandon their old ways of interacting. For some, the restructuring process is relatively easy, while for others, the adolescent crisis is marked by the first episode of depression or bipolar disorder.

Even the most attentive parents often do not notice the symptoms of depression in their children, because most of the manifestations of the disease are interpreted as manifestations of "bad character", "stubbornness", "laziness" and so on.

However, adolescents for the most part do not inform adults about their problems when it comes to emotional disturbances: they wait in advance for devaluation and notation.

Causes of teenage depression

How are teens trying to fight depression?

Alcohol, drugs, computer games remain the traditional means of self-help for depression in adolescents - everything that you parents are so afraid of. They help teenagers escape from unbearable thoughts and experiences, find temporary relief from pain. Sometimes music, books and subcultures come to the rescue, but even this often becomes a reason for confrontation between the child and the parents, which increases frustration.

A teenager is looking for a way out where he can - if parents at this moment become enemies, he has to save himself in ways that adults will not like. Doubtful companies, deviant and self-destructive behavior, psychoactive substances, self-harm in such a situation is not a rebellion and not an attempt to "spoil everything", it is a search for a resource to overcome one's state. And, trying to fight the child, adults only exacerbate the situation.

What should parents do?

A depressed teenager is very bad. Unlike adults, he has not yet developed the usual methods of psychological defense, he is unable to ignore what is happening to him, he has not mastered the skills of emotional self-regulation. He does not yet have ready-made answers, no psychological shelters, no places where he can be guaranteed to receive support, no resources to overcome crises.

In addition, he feels shame and guilt for his condition (even if they are manifested as aggression and rejection), unbearable pain, loneliness, fear. He needs help, not education (it is too late to educate - in the traditional sense - a teenager).

Most clients with depressive disorders understand that the first episode they "caught" in puberty, but realized that it was him, only in adulthood. As with most chronic diseases, the effectiveness of early intervention for depression directly affects the future course of the disease. If the first depressive episode in adolescence is recognized, the risk of relapse is significantly reduced. If the first episode is left unattended, there is a high likelihood of the disorder becoming chronic.

What role do social networks and the Internet play in the formation of depression?

According to researchers at the University of Montreal, social networks and TV shows have caused a decrease in self-esteem in adolescents and, as a result, a trigger for depression. In their opinion, television and social networks include content that presents the lives of other young people in a very positive way, forms the idea of an ideal life. Teenagers involuntarily begin to compare themselves with those they see on social networks, they turn out to be dissatisfied with the result, and this dissatisfaction becomes the cause of the development of a depressive state. Thus, the more time a child spends on social media, the higher their risk of developing depression.

How to convince your teen to visit a therapist or psychologist:

When you tell your child the idea of going to a psychologist for a consultation, in order to convince him of the need for such a visit, you need to act according to a certain algorithm. First, in no case should you take the “must” position, speak with the child on an equal footing, as with an adult. Try to explain to him that now, perhaps, you do not understand each other, but in spite of everything you love him and want to help. The second is to convey to the teenager that someone else is needed to resolve the current situation and offer to choose a specialist together. Third, a parent can try to say that he himself wants to go to a psychologist in order to sort out the existing problems between him and the child, but explain that if he goes alone, the psychologist will not have the opportunity to hear two points of view.

If in the end these methods did not help convince the teenager, you can suggest just going to the first appointment and saying that if you don't like it, you will not return to this topic again. But in no case should you press, force, blackmail, threaten or give any excessive promises, otherwise you can aggravate the situation, and our task is to help!

By:Dr. Lindsay Chester

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