Recognizing Adolescent Depression

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Adolescent depression can be hard to identify.  Adolescence can be a turbulent period for any teenager so how can you tell when it has crossed the line from the normal trials of being a teenager into depression?  You can learn what the symptoms are, the effects of those symptoms, and the warning signs for suicide.

Symptoms Of Depression In Adolescence

Common symptoms are persistent sadness, feeling of hopelessness, and feelings of worthlessness.  There may be regular crying, often for no reason.  The adolescent may become socially isolated and lose interest in activities that were once enjoyed.

There may be changes in eating patterns and weight.  These are always causes for concern if they do not have a logical, healthy explanation.  Also, there could be sleep disturbances.

Adolescents especially may demonstrate the following symptoms more than adults with depression.  These symptoms set the two manifestations of depression apart.  Adolescents with depression may exhibit a heightened sensitivity to any criticism.  They may develop physical problems in the form of miscellaneous aches and pains that do not have any physical cause.

The adolescent may be irritable and angry.  With adults, the social isolation tends to be isolation from everyone.  Adolescents with depression, however, are likely to maintain relationships with at least a few friends.

Effects Of Depression On Adolescents

The affected adolescent may have difficulties with schoolwork due to an inability to concentrate and a lack of energy.  The teenager’s change in eating habits may grow into a full blown eating disorder as a result of the depression.

The adolescent may attempt to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.  This complicates matters.  Depressed feelings can manifest as self-injurious behaviours, reckless behaviours, or as acts of aggression toward others.  Depressed feelings may also result in romanticizing death in speech or writing.  It may lead to attempts to commit suicide.

Warning Signs For Adolescent Suicide

The warning signs may begin with mentioning suicide in speech or joking about it.  Referencing death in a positive manner is another red flag.  Writing about death and a fixation on death could also be a warning sign.

Reckless behaviour and a disregard for safety indicate something is wrong and could point to suicidal tendencies.  Saying goodbye to friends and family with a tone of finality should never be ignored.  Finally, any plans or attempts to obtain the means to end one’s life require immediate professional intervention.

Teen depression may seem like a normal transition, but it is not.  It is a serious matter that requires recognition of its existence and professional intervention to make sure your adolescent has a chance to recover.

Learn how I beat Depression

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