Maintaining your health is not only about sleeping eight hours or eating nutritious food. It’s also about ensuring that your mental health is checked now and then. After all, it’s prevalent, especially for teenagers, to be more at risk of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.
Teenage depression rates have been steadily increasing and are one of the most common mental health issues in the United States. The National Institute of Mental Health assesses that around 4.1 million teenagers experience depression yearly.
Most Common Manifestations of Teenage Depression
Always remember that teenage depression still comes with occasional moodiness, acting out, and irritability. However, unlike the standard depression state, the effect of depression on teenagers is much more severe, long-lasting, and can significantly impact their lives. Here are several common indicators of teenage depression:
- Excessive sadness or crying
- A decline of interest in once pleasurable activities
- Significant weight gain or loss
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Restlessness or irritability
- Fatigue or low energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Diminished concentration or indecisiveness
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Teen Moodiness vs. Depression: What’s the Difference
Teenagers who do psychotherapy always struggle with the misconception of “am I depressed or am I just moody?”
It’s understandable that teenagers might be uncertain whether they’re actually depressed or just moody. After all, mood swings are a normal part of adolescence, and it’s not always easy to distinguish between normal teenage angst and something more serious.
However, there’s a significant difference between normal teenage moodiness and depression. Moodiness is typically short-lived and doesn’t interfere with a teenager’s ability to enjoy life or function normally. Meanwhile, depression is a severe mental illness that can cause a teenager to feel hopeless and helpless for an extended period.
The Link Between Suicide and Teenage Depression
Teenage depression can sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts and actions, especially if the mental illness is left untreated. The therapist will want to know how long the symptoms have been going on, how severe they are, how they are impacting the teenager’s life, and whether there have been any changes in behavior or mood that could be warning signs of suicide.
If the therapist suspects the teenager is suicidal, they will likely refer them to a psychiatrist or hospital for further evaluation.
How to Help
If your teenager is struggling with depression, you can do a few things to help.
- Make sure your teenager is undergoing psychotherapy and taking any medications prescribed by a doctor. These are essential steps in treating depression.
- Offer your support. Depression can be very isolating, so make sure you are there for your teenager when they need you.
- Be mindful of the warning signs of suicide and take them seriously. If you are worried your teenager may be suicidal, don’t hesitate to seek help.
Teenage depression is a serious issue that you should not ignore. It can lead to many problems, including drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm, and suicide. If you presume your child is going through depression, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional.
Sarah J. Person, LCSW-R, provides reliable psychotherapy sessions in Long Island, NY, to help your teenager deal with depression and other issues. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, please contact Sarah today.