When I hear the words “teenage years”, I think of navigating through a minefield.
While occasional mood swings and acting out is expected during these years, depression is a serious health problem that can cause an intense sense of anger, sadness, or despair potentially negatively affecting your teens’ personality or leading to something more serious such as suicide.
Teenagers go from being “kids” to facing a multitude of changes from puberty to social pressures. They may face unrealistic social, academic, or family expectations that may lead to deep disappointment. They may feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and confused as they navigate trying to figure out where they fit in and who they are.
Unfortunately, majority of the time, teens need YOU to recognize their suffering in order to get the help they need. This may be hard for you to recognize because depression does not look the same as adults’ depression symptoms.
When a teen is suffering emotionally they may express their depression through a variety of ways that may include hostile and risk-taking behavior.
Here is what you may see and potential warning signs to look for:
• Poor performance in school- Depression can cause concertation difficulties as well as low energy leading to poor attendance, academic problems, or behavioral problems.
• Poor self-esteem or guilt- Depression may intensify feelings of not being attractive enough.
• Experiment with drugs or alcohol-While substance abuse makes depression worse, they use it as an attempt to “self-medicate” in order to suppress their feelings.
• Become promiscuous- to avoid feelings of depression.