Adolescent depression is not a temporary emotional decline, but a serious illness requiring urgent and adequate treatment. If depression is delayed and goes into a severe form, it causes serious health problems, significantly worsens the quality of life and in the worst cases leads to suicide.According to the World Health Organization, suicide ranks third in the list of causes of death among adolescents in the age group 15–19 years. And in some regions of Europe and Asia, this is the main or second leading cause of adolescent mortality. How to notice and recognize depression in time? What should take parents to help your child? Let us examine these questions in this article.
Depression in adolescence
Adolescence is a period of emotional instability, strong internal experiences, increased vulnerability to stress factors. Teenagers are keenly aware of even the most insignificant difficulties, they endure every failure with difficulty. They suffer from self-doubt, are too anxious about their body and appearance, often in conflict with their parents, often display irritability, lack of balance, aggressiveness in communication. In favorable conditions, the adolescent manages to successfully cope with the emotional and psychological difficulties of puberty. Under adverse circumstances, age-related emotional instability is transformed into various forms of mental disorders.
The formation of depression in adolescence is influenced by many factors: genetic predisposition, unhealthy family atmosphere, low social status, loss of one of the parents, bullying, etc. Depression is a serious mental disorder that does not go away on its own over time. Depression negatively affects all areas of a child’s life and, if left untreated, leads to such tragic consequences as disability and suicide. The problem is exacerbated by the lack of support from parents. Adults often blame the first manifestations of depression in adolescents on the peculiarities of transitional age and leave the child alone with a dangerous disease.
Depression in adolescents: symptoms
Depressive states teenagers Symptoms include:
- reduced mood, pessimism prevails with a sense of hopelessness and hopelessness, sadness, despondency, acute melancholy;
- fatigue, loss of strength, lethargy, apathy;
- irritability, incontinence, anger;
- loss of interest in previous hobbies;
- the child throws his studies, his performance at school decreases;
- self-isolation, thirst for solitude (even for those children who previously differed sociability);
- chronic anxiety, increased anxiety;
- sense of inferiority;
- inadequate guilt;
- loss of appetite, sleep problems;
- psychosomatic pains in different parts of the body (back, head, abdomen);
- memory impairment, reduced concentration;
- suicidal thoughts.
Some symptoms are mild. Some of them may not appear at all. The presence of depression can be assumed in the event that there is a large part of the above symptoms.
How to recognize depression by teen behavior?
It is quite difficult for a non-specialist to detect the presence of depression, especially if a teenager suffering from this disease tends to hide his condition. But there are several indirect signs that can help parents recognize depression in a child. They are related to the behavior of a teenager.The following behavioral manifestations can signal the presence of depression:
- Escape from home.
A child can really run away or just threaten to do it. Even words that are not supported by action should be taken seriously. They can not be regarded as manipulation or blackmail. This is an alarming signal, a demonstration of emotional distress, a cry for help, which should not be ignored.
- The decline in performance.
If a child began to study poorly and began to skip school, there could be many reasons for this: educational overload, problems with teachers or classmates, irresponsibility, laziness, etc. But it could also be a developing depression. This disease is accompanied by inhibition of thinking, memory impairment, inability to concentrate, a decrease in motivation to study and other activities.
- Insulation, craving for solitude.
With developing depression, a teenager may stop communicating with old friends. He is gradually fenced off from others and shuts himself. The network of his social contacts is increasingly narrowing. Often a teenager prefers virtual communication to real. In severe cases, he may cease to leave the house altogether.
- Manifestations of aggressiveness, violent acts.
The aggressive behavior of adolescents testifies to the helplessness, confusion and inability of an immature person to independently cope with their problems. Often aggressive behavior is demonstrated by those adolescents who themselves have been abused. Aggression is manifested in frequent conversations about violence, outbursts of anger, verbal and physical violence. One of the indicators of adolescent depression is self-aggression, self-harm, desire for self-harm.
- Substance use.
A depressed person often resorts to alcohol and drugs in order to at least temporarily stifle pain, turn off consciousness and escape from unbearable reality.
- Risky behaviors.
A teenager can deliberately provoke extreme situations in order to get a powerful adrenaline rush and thus switch, temporarily block the symptoms of depression. What is adolescent risk behavior? This occupation of extreme sports, participation in offenses, risky cheeky behavior, dangerous self, walking on roofs, construction sites, etc. This also includes experiments with drugs, smoking, drinking alcohol, self-harming.
Adolescence itself is a difficult period. Almost every teenager tries certain forms of behavior that deviate from established norms. Parents will have to make some effort to recognize depression, and then help the child get out of this state.
What should parents do?
When a teenager manifests signs of depression, parents often get lost or become more stringent, exert psychological pressure, increase demands on the child, which should not be done in any way. Under constant pressure and strict control, a teenager may even withdraw into himself or go into open conflict with adults, and his painful condition will be aggravated. To successfully resolve a difficult problem, parents need to act as follows:
- Try to call the child to a confidential conversation. A teenager should be gently questioned about his feelings and anxieties, avoiding notations and not turning the conversation into an interrogation. The technique of active listening used in psychological practice will help to build a conversation correctly.
- You can not blame the child for weakness, shame him, demand to take himself in hand, cheer up, do not limp. Depression is not a voluntary choice of a person or something contrived, frivolous. She, like any other disease, can not be defeated by willpower. Depression is a serious and insidious disease that requires skilled treatment.
- Parents need to convince the child that in the family they accept him as he is and love unconditional love.
- You can not devalue the experiences of a teenager and make fun of his hobbies. To an adult, adolescent experiences may seem exaggerated and groundless, and problems insignificant. But for a teenager, this is not at all the case. In adolescence, even minor difficulties are perceived as global insoluble problems. As for hobbies, parents need to respect the choice of the child, even if from a height of age he seems to them stupid, strange or ridiculous.
If a teenager does not make contact with his parents, he may open up to a specialist. Sometimes children more easily agree to a frank conversation with a stranger than with a loved one. In any case, a specialist will have to turn to: a person who is depressed needs the help of a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Initially, the specialist will make an accurate diagnosis through interviews, testing, testing. Then, medication treatment will be prescribed: antidepressants, anxiolytics, etc. Psychotherapy is required: individual or group sessions.