The teenage years can be a trying time with hormonal changes and strong emotional states. However, aside from the normal drama that is part of a teens life, there can exist the health concern of serious clinical depression. Depression is a physical illness with symptoms that go beyond sadness. It is estimated that one in eight teens suffer from this life altering condition. Alarmingly, only about 30% of those are provided with treatment, while the other 70% continues to suffer. Parents need to be aware of the risk factors for depression and the warning signs of a teen who may need treatment.
A sad person can still cope and continue on with a normal life. A depressed person, on the other hand, may feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Feelings of despair, worthlessness, and a loss of interest in usual activities are symptoms of depression. Parents should be concerned if their teen is having trouble concentrating or if they show signs of being irritable, restless, anxious, or belligerent. Physical symptoms may also be present with depression. They include headaches, muscle aches, insomnia, excessive sleep, low energy, and changes in appetite or weight.
There are many risk factors associated with depression and the causes vary greatly. One of the largest risk factors is gender. Females are twice as likely to suffer from depression as males. Also, teens with a dysfunctional or disrupted family life, and those who have been sexually or physically abused are at higher risk. In addition, if an adolescent has struggled with a chronic illness or has a family history of depression, they should be closely monitored for this mental illness.
Due to the fact that it is some what natural for a teenager to have mood swings, depression can be hard to diagnose. However, depression is a serious illness that can even lead to suicide. Therefor, it is important to be watchful and provide therapeutic and medical interventions as needed. Talk to your teenager about how they are feeling. Although depression is serious, with the right treatment course, a teen with this illness can return to a normal life.