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Signs of Teen Depression

February 27, 2013

Depression, teen depression, pain, suffering, tunnel

Try to remember what it was like when we were teens. Our bodies were changing. We were involved in our first real relationships. We were dealing with expectations to succeed inside and outside the classroom. We faced peer pressure. Now, imagine what it would have been like if social media was putting our teen lives under an even greater microscope.

Yes, teenagers have mood swings. Yes, they often seem to test the limits of your patience. Yes, they complain a lot. Yes, they can act like the whole world is against them. But how do you know what’s normal and what’s not? What is the difference between trivial teen drama and clinical depression, a serious medical condition?

Teen depression causes a virtually unshakable sadness, apathy or anger. It affects how teens think, feel and act. It can even lead to destructive behavior, from violence to substance abuse to suicide. Most importantly, depression isn’t something that teens can just cure themselves. They can’t just snap out of it.

In fact, by 2020, the World Health Organization estimates that depression will be the number two cause of “lost years of healthy life” worldwide.

Signs of teen depression involve noticeable emotional and behavioral changes, including the following:

Feelings of sadness, emptiness and hopelessness that can be accompanied by spontaneous crying

Anger and irritability

Low self-esteem, including feelings of worthlessness or excessive, unwarranted guilt

Increased sensitivity and a tendency to dwell on failure

Restlessness, including pacing, twitching and other nervous, repetitive movements

Lack of concentration and forgetfulness

Loss of interest in activities that the teen used to enjoy and withdrawal from family and friends

Changes in eating habits, including a loss of appetite or overeating

Changes in sleeping habits, like staying awake at night and sleeping all day

Loss of energy and lethargy

Frequent complaints of physical pain, like headaches or stomach aches

Poor school performance

Alcohol or drug use

Frequent thoughts, discussions or writings about death and suicide

As I said earlier, many of these signs of teen depression are normal teenage behavior, or growing pains. Think about how severe these signs are, how long they’ve lasted, and how different they are from how your teen’s usual self. Also, depression can be hereditary, so do a little research to see if there is a history of depression in your family

If you think your teen may be dealing with depression, especially if you think he or she may be in danger, talk to your doctor. Teen depression can be diagnosed through interviews and psychological test with the teen, as well as family, friends and teachers. It can then be treated in a number of ways depending on the severity of the depression and the signs being exhibited.

Remember, depression is a potentially dangerous but treatable condition. This is the year of the family. No family member, especially a child, needs to go through life feeling worthless or alone. Talk to each other. Support each other. And if professional help is required, encourage your loved one to take that potentially life-changing step.

If you’re not sure if your teen is just “being a teenager” or dealing with depression, talk to your doctor, who can refer you to a qualified mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.