When it comes to age groups, depression is an equal opportunity disorder. We tend to look at adolescence through rose-colored glasses. but according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness approximately 20 percent of teenagers will experience depression at some point before they reach adulthood. Unfortunately, only a small subset of that group receives the treatment that can help their condition.
The teen years have historically been a time of rebellion. This tendency creates difficulty in distinguishing between traditional teen behavior and true depression. Complicating matters is society’s continuing stigma regarding mental illness. Parents may choose to believe that their son or daughter is acting out rather than face the fact that they need medical assistance.
Teens themselves often have reason to avoid the truth as well. The growth and change that occurs during adolescence can often create emotional turmoil resulting in a sense of isolation. A boy or girl dealing with depression might be afraid that seeking help will only increase their disconnection with others.
If you have a teenager who may be depressed, it’s vital to get assistance for them as soon as possible. These guidelines can help you determine whether it’s true depression or just “kids being kids”.
- Depression rarely exists in a vacuum. With teens it often co-occurs with other disorders like anxiety, anorexia or learning disabilities. The possibility of dual diagnosis means that drug or alcohol abuse should raise a huge red flag.
- Teenagers can indulge in mood swings without letting them affect the rest of their activities. Be vigilant for changes in your child’s usual behavior. Falling grades, listlessness, changes in appetite and avoidance of social activities can all indicate depression.
- How long have the symptoms been occurring? If your teen’s behavior has continued uninterrupted for two weeks or more, take a closer look.
Our treatment center includes a fully licensed psychiatric and mental health facility staffed with caring, knowledgeable professionals. Programs include individual and group therapy that provides valuable peer support. Help your teen by calling us at 800-298-1783.