Teenage depression is highly treatable. Still, many teens fail to receive the help they need. Why is this? Oftentimes it’s because their symptoms are mistaken for normal moodiness and either dismissed, or viewed as a disciplinary issue. As parents, we always want the best for our children, but it can be challenging to know how to navigate the teen years, even under the best of circumstances.
Worrisome Teen Behaviors
Many worrisome behaviors, like acting out, can actually signal that your child is struggling with teenage depression. This can include things like drug or alcohol abuse that may be used in an attempt to cope with their emotions. Similarly, many depressed teens are addicted to their cell phones or computers. This is another avenue of emotional escape, but the social isolation can actually make matters worse. Teenage depression can also look like low self-esteem, running away from home, or even aggression, especially among boys.
What Causes Teenage Depression?
A number of underlying stressors and biological factors can contribute to teenage depression, such as hormonal fluctuations, childhood trauma, genetics and inherited traits, as well as brain chemistry. In some cases, even a run-of-the-mill divorce can contribute to teen depression. Stress at school or major transitions can cause emotional upheaval that requires extra support.
Signs of Teenage Depression
Are you worried that your teen is struggling with more than growing pains? Here are some common signs that your teenager needs help:
- Anger or irritability, including outbursts
- Withdrawal from friends, family, or favorite activities
- Prolonged feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Social isolation
- Problems at school
- Poor self-image
- Lack of motivation
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- High-risk behaviors, like shoplifting
- Feelings of guilt
- Acts of self-harm, including excessive body modification, or cutting
- Addiction to technology
- Running away from home
- A lack of attention to personal hygiene
- Suicidal thoughts or ideation, as well as making a plan to act
Therapy for Teenage Depression
It takes time to learn how to cope with our emotions and the challenges of life. These are the between years, where many internal and external changes are taking place. As parents, we aren’t always as aware of these struggles as we’d hope to be. The good news is, though, that you can help your teen through these transitions and you’re not alone. Contact the office of Brett Beaver, LMFT today by calling 925.324.4514 to learn more about adolescent therapy.