Among teens, mood seems to change by the minute. One moment your child is happy and excited, the next they’re irritated and sad. These mood swings are common and harmless among many adolescents, but they can make it difficult to understand whether your child is going through normal age-related stresses and changes or if they’re dealing with something different, like depression.
Statistics show that one in eight teens suffer from depression. Facilitating frequent communication is one of the best things you can do to determine if your child is among the 12.5 percent of teens dealing with depression. Talk to your teen about how they’re feeling and take note of any sudden changes or feelings that seem more intense or frequent than usual.
Read on to learn about signs to look for, keeping in mind that these signs often differ to the depression symptoms you might see among adults.
Symptoms Of Depression In Teenagers
Here are a few emotional and behavioral signs to look out for if you suspect your teen is dealing with depression:
- Noticeable changes in mood.
- Loss of interest in typical activities and hobbies.
- Sleeping more or less than usual, or suffering from insomnia.
- Changes in eating patterns.
- Weight gain or weight loss.
- Irresponsible and reckless behavior including alcohol and drug use, promiscuity, and skipping school or other important obligations.
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, irritability, or anxiety.
- Falling grades and other school-related difficulties that seem out of the norm.
- Pulling away from friends and family, or acting withdrawn in general.
- Expressing large amounts of guilt.
- Acting apathetic.
- Experiencing low self-esteem.
- Lack of motivation.
- Heightened sensitivity to failure and rejection.
- Difficulty focusing, remembering things, and making decisions.
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide.
When To Seek Help If You Suspect Your Child Is Depressed
If your child experiences sadness and other symptoms for two weeks or more and symptoms are increasingly interfering with their life, you should probably see a mental health professional or doctor. Seeking help at this point is important because many symptoms do not resolve on their own. Additionally, many depressed teens can be at risk of suicide even when their symptoms do not seem that severe.
If you believe your child is at immediate risk of suicide, call 911 or bring them to the hospital. If you know they are having suicidal thoughts, make sure to educate them on helpful resources they can turn to, such as a suicide hotline, a counselor or mental health professional, or a good friend or family member who will always be there when needed.
Depression Treatment For Teens
Depression symptoms are known to lessen with treatment among many teens. Some depression treatments include:
- Talk Therapy/Psychotherapy: Therapists can help your teen learn how to manage their feelings and mood and think more positively. Variations of talk therapy include interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Medication: A form of antidepressant medication called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective in reducing symptoms of depression among many teens. Some common SSRIs include Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, and Celexa.
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy: Gaining in popularity as a depression treatment because it is non-invasive and drug-free, TMS therapy is cleared by the FDA as a depression treatment for those 18 and older. A number of clinical trials and studies are in progress to look at using TMS as a depression treatment among teens and children.
If your teenager is over 18 and has tried antidepressants with little to no reduction in symptoms, then TMS treatment may be an option. To learn more call 888.823.4867 or book an appointment online here for TMS Neuro Institute, which is one of the earliest adopters in using transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat depression in Los Angeles.