Wondering if your teenager is exhibiting signs of teenage depression? Answering these questions might give you a more definitive answer.
- Does your child seem sad often, tearful, or cry for no apparent reason?
- Have they changed their style of clothing, wearing black most of the time?
- Has your teen suddenly gone from enjoying spending time with family and friends to hiding away in their room most days and nights?
- Does he or she seem increasing irritable, angry, or pick fights with you that seem out of character for them?
- Are their grades dropping?
- Have you found evidence of drugs or alcohol on them or in their rooms?
- Do the things that they write (email, twitter, facebook, poems, writing assignments) seem sad, angry or discuss thought of hurting themselves or other people?
If you answered yes to at least three of these questions, your teenager may be showing signs of a significant depression. Teenage depression is significant and should be taken very seriously.
What to do: Talk to your teen about your concerns and the signs of depression you are seeing. Talk to the school counselor or social worker to see if something is going on at school that may be upsetting your child. Discuss options with your child's pediatrician regarding possible medication to treat depression and psychotherapy to address underlying issues.
What not to do: Don't lecture your teen, just listen. Don't offer advice to your teen unless they specifically ask you, just listen. Don't punish your teen for depressed feelings, it will just make matters worse. Let them know you are concerned about them, giving specifics about what signs of teenage depression you are witnessing. Unless they are suicidal, don't force them into treatment. It is usually a waste of time and they will end up resenting you for it. But if they are willing to get the help they need have referrals and resources ready to go.