What Are The Signs Of Teenage Depression?
Signs of teenage depression are on the rise, but are they being recognized for what it truly is, or is it just brushed aside as a moody phase that will soon pass?
Millions of antidepressant prescriptions are written every year by doctors for more than 13 million American adults who suffer from major depressive disorders. Signs of teenage depression is on the rise but until recently, no one believed that teenagers or adolescents could experience true depression just as adults do.
It was generally believed that children might get sad or frustrated about issues and decide to retreat and sulk their moodiness away, but research has now realized that adolescents do and can get seriously depressed.
If you are a teenager reading this page because you feel depressed, or if you are a parent who thinks that your child might be depressed, learn the symptoms and signs of teenage depression and take action because teenage depression can be treated.
Causes Of Teenage Depression
The causes of depression are not fully understood, but new technology has provided an insight that depressed people have less amounts of certain mood regulating chemicals known as neurotransmitters.
Further evidence has also shown that depressive illness caused by such chemical imbalances can be inherited, and that children of depressed parents have as much as 25% risk of having a mood disorder.
Alcohol and drug abuse has also been cited as a cause of signs of teenage depression. The use of marijuana, alcohol and “feel high” substances such as ”ecstasy” begins to replace everything else as the most important thing in the world.
Eating disorders and preoccupation with weight loss can be very engrossing and sometimes pathological with dangerous consequences. Eating disorders are often predominant in teenage girls who have mood disorders as well.
Signs Of Teenage Depression
Teenage depression is often harder to recognize as an illness simply because a majority of teenagers tend to be moody most of the time as they undergo hormonal changes during their developmental stages.
Sure everybody feels down every now and then, especially teenagers but how can you tell a teenager is going through the illness of depression? Loss of the ability to enjoy normal things, change in energy levels, motivation and interest levels are all defining features of depressive syndrome.
These changes might signal that something is not quite right and that we should pay close attention. The following are all signs of teenage depression that parents should pay close attention to:
*Irritability *Anger and hostility
*Tearful outbursts *Guilty feelings
*Social withdrawal *Suicidal thoughts
*Poor concentration *Poor memory
*Loss of motivation *Sleep disturbance
*Lack of energy *Loss of interest in usual activities
*Feelings of despair and melancholy
*Feelings of inadequacy, low self esteem or increased level of self criticism
*Reduced levels of accomplishments in school or at home
*Inability to derive pleasure from activities they used to enjoy such as going to the movies, listening music or engaging in sports.
If four or more of these symptoms are being experienced frequently, it will be wise to consult a doctor for proper diagnoses.
Treating Teenage Depression
There is a tragic misconception that people who are depressed can just snap out of it if they wanted to and as a result of this, millions of people who are depressed never get the treatment or help they need. Sufferers feel hopeless and inadequate, and some with serious mood disorders even kill themselves.
It is always wise to have a proper diagnosis to rule out any medical disorders such as thyroid disease or anemia that can mimic symptoms of depression. If depression is determined after physical examination, the patient will most likely be prescribed with an antidepressant medication such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), tricyclics, lithium, or drugs like Prozac, Zoloft or Paxil.
All these drugs may be effective in treating depression, but they all come with adverse side effects that include dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, low blood pressure, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts.
Medication should not be the only strategy you employ to fight signs of teenage depression. Other services such as behavior management therapy, educational services and family therapy can be explored. Getting your teenager to take antidepressant might not be the wisest decision because those medications were specifically made and tested on adults, hence their use on a young developing brain might be detrimental.
Researchers believe that the developing brains of teenagers can be impacted negatively, especially when it comes to stress and emotional management if antidepressants are introduced at this early age, and aside of the numerous side effects, the United States Food and Drug Administration requires that all antidepressant medications carry warning risk in children up to age twenty four.
Using Natural Remedies To Treat Teenage Depression
Although antidepressants and mood-stabilizing medications are typically used in treating depression, you can also consider using non-drug approaches, including nutrition, supplements, exercise and self expression to treat signs of teenage depression.
Cognitive therapy is a principle that states feelings results from messages we give ourselves. Some depressed teens tend to be dominated by pessimistic and negative view of most aspects of life. When depressed learn to change the way they think about themselves, they can change their basic values and beliefs. The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy can provide list of cognitive therapists. Visit their website at:www.abct.org
Regular exercise is just as effective as antidepressants. A recent study at Duke University Medical Center found that people who exercised three times a week improved their depressive symptoms just as much as people who took antidepressants.
St. John’s Wort is reported to have antidepressant effect that is clinically significant in treating mild to moderately severe depressive disorders. Use this herb with the approval and supervision of your doctor.
Omega-3 fatty acids are nutrients that our bodies cannot manufacture but nonetheless is needed for prime cellular functioning. Lack of adequate intake of essential fats can deprive the brain of critical nutrients which can lead to depression and other mental disorders.
The American Psychiatric Association recommends that people eat fish at least three times a week because fish contains fatty acids which protects brain cells. Fatty acids helps the brain cells generate more serotonin and dopamine, the neurotransmitters that regulate mood and sends good feelings from cell to cell.
In short, it is essential that teenagers with depression symptoms limit their intake of hamburgers and consume more of salmon and other fish that has omega-3 fatty acids. Supplementing with omega-3 capsules is also evidenced to be useful for good mental health and also in the treatment of mood disorders.
Saffron, known as the spice of happiness has been proven as an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression.
In a clinical study, one group was given saffron capsules and another group given Prozac.
After six weeks, both groups had the same level of relief from depression. Suggested intake is 30 mg a day.
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