An episodic sadness or feeling down is acceptable. But constant episodes of sadness and hopelessness are a symptom of serious mental health condition. The initial signs of depression should be taken seriously by the parents and should approach the teen to discuss his fears. There can be several contributing factors for depression such as hormonal changes due to age, the pressure to perform well in studies, socioeconomic factors, etc. During the counseling sessions, the teen will be given support to understand that he or she is strong and energetic, who needs to change the way of thinking towards life.
It is the duty of the parents, guardians, teachers, and caregivers to check the developing sign of depression and immediately sprung into action to take necessary measures to overcome it. A depressed teen need not necessarily be sad all the time, the 5 major symptoms of depression in teen are
- Sadness, Anger, and Irritability: Teens express their depression in the angry agitated form in the form of shouting and screaming. They easily get irritated even with the slightest touch.
- Poor performance and lack of concentration: They will not be able to concentrate on anything, listening to lectures, performing assignments which ultimately results in poor marks and failures
- Social Withdrawal and lack of enthusiasm: Depressed teens have low-esteem and lack the confidence to face people. They are shy and timid to face the world and lack enthusiasm in doing anything. They will not be able to handle any criticism or rejection, such teens develop a feeling of worthlessness.
- Change in eating and sleeping habits: Teens tend to go for binge eating and overeat and tend to gain weight and becomes obese or in other case, teens stop eating.
- Aches and pains: The children tend to complain frequently about aches and pains. Physical examination does not reveal any specific cause for the pain.
It is important to watch for suicidal symptoms. A depressed teen makes it difficult to understand whether their suicidal words were intentional or unintentional.
Depression in teens can be very much controlled with proper care and attention. Here are a few simple measures to be taken to overcome teen depression:
- Depressed teens should be encouraged to increase social interactions. Parents should have a one-to-one talk with the teen and should try to understand their problems. Keep the teen engaged with social activities such as dance, music, sports, etc. Encourage your teen to mingle with friends.
- A healthy, balanced and nutritious diet gives a healthy life. Food which supports mental health and mood swings should be given.
- Reduce teens gluing time to TV and mobile phones
- Let the teen join the gym, go for walking, jogging, cycling or any activity which increases physical activity
- Let the teen take adequate rest and sleep