Teenagers are known to have a roller coaster of emotions and changes in attitude. The teen years have been associated by clinical experts as being the hardest time period to be a parent. Depression is a mood disorder causing persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest.
Parents who make light of signs that their teens suffer from depression can lead them to anti-social behaviors such as self harm or drug abuse. If you suspect your teen suffers from depression here are ten things you can do. (is it nine or 10)
1. Talk to them about it
When your teen is depressed a parent should not feel awkward or embarrassed to talk to them. Talking about their depression or how they feel is key to letting them know you are there for them and they are not alone. Some teens may not open up but most times they are waiting for someone to notice the change within them and to provide them with help.
2. Empathize with their struggle
If have never experienced depression before it may be hard to see things from their point of view, but depression is not about the privileges or amount of things they have in their life. Your teen’s depression is related to how they see themselves and the world around them. As a parent you should work on understanding how your teen is feeling and why they feel this way.
3. Don’t try to fix them
As a parent it’s common to try and fix or solve whatever problems your child is experiencing. Whether your teen has school, friends or family issues your parental instinct will tell you to find the resolution to this problem. While it is important to be there for your teen remember, it is also important for them to learn how to resolve problems for themselves. Depression is something your teen must work through and conquer.
4. Provide them with resources
There are a multitude of resources for teens suffering from depression. From hotlines, school services to online forums and groups getting teens help is more abound than ever. Encourage your teen to look into resources to help combat their depression. This allows them to learn and gain experience on how to solve problems on their own.
5. Monitor their symptoms
If your teen is suffering from depression monitor their patterns by making sure it never gets too severe. Pay close attention to your teens eating and sleeping patterns. Other symptoms to watch for are their loss of interest, low energy levels, and poor concentration. If your teen shows a very dismal outlook or any signs of suicidal idealization seek help from a mental health professional. For more immediate attention call 911.
6. Get them a physical check up
The growth and change that occurs during adolescence is a very important time that may be a result of the vitamins within the body. A lack of Vitamin D has been shown to cause depression. Have your teen undergo a physical to ensure they are not lacking any of the vital nutrients to foster growth.
7. Educate yourself
The best thing a parent can do when they have a teen suffering from depression is to educate themselves. Learn about the warning signs, symptoms, side effects, causes or any other information available. Being prepared and informed is the best way to help your teen and family overcome this disorder.
8. Show them unconditional love
No one wants to feel depressed especially your teen. This is not a ploy to seek attention or validate their self esteem. Depression is a serious disorder and your teen needs to know that despite all that you will always love and be there for them. Show your love by remaining non-judgmental and keeping communications open.
9. Meet with a therapist
If you notice or grow concern that your teen depression is worsening or stagnant it may be time to seek the help of a therapist. Seeking the help of a therapist specializing in teens and depression would be the best for your teen and family to cope with depression. Having a therapist allows your teen to properly understand their depression and provides a safe environment to work on overcoming this disorder. A therapist can also meet with your family as a whole to help everyone discern the importance of recognizing signals of distress to better assist your teen suffering from depression.
At Inspirations for Youth and Families we specialize in dual diagnosis treatment for teens. By treating mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression we can also help teens overcome their addictive behaviors and patterns. If your child is need of depression or addiction treatment please contact us.
If you are not sure if your teen is suffering from depression look for these warning signs.