According to a recent study released by the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force, the incidence of teen suicide has increased by one-third since 2010. Depression in teenagers can become a serious illness. Depression may present itself differently in the teenage years than at other points in life. Depression can include a constant feeling of sadness and a waning interest in activities. It can affect the teen’s behavior, and cause physical and emotional difficulties.
Why are teens prone to depression?
Many components may be involved when depression occurs. These include any combination of body chemistry, family history, trauma or patterns of negative thinking. Although some symptoms of depression may appear as normal teenage behavior, it is important to be aware of the distinctions. Symptoms of depression include sadness, anger, withdrawal, self-deprecation and low esteem.
How can I tell if a teen is depressed?
The best way to distinguish between typical teen behavior and depression is through an open dialogue. Back and forth conversation with the teen helps to discern whether they are managing normal uncomfortable feelings, or if they are overwhelmed by life’s daily challenges.
Changes in behavior patterns should be monitored as they could be a warning sign of depression. Typically, those patterns involve self-destructive behaviors including binge drinking, drug abuse, academic failure or family conflict.
What do I do if a teen shows symptoms of depression?
If one suspects a teen has depressive symptoms, immediately contact a pediatrician, who can act as a guide through the best channels for intervention or assistance. Symptoms of depression are unlikely to resolve themselves without intervention. A teenager who is depressed may be at risk of suicide, even if they don’t display signs that appear to be severe.
If your teen is having suicidal thoughts, seek immediate help. Any talk of suicide needs to be taken seriously. You or your teen should call the Cone Behavioral Health Hospital at 336-832-9700 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)
About the Author
Sandra Knisley, BSN,RN-BC