Living With Depression

Recognizing and Treating Depression in Teens

Depression effects 15-20% of adolescents at least once. In an unfortunately high amount of these cases, depression leads to suicide. Even if you do not think that your child could ever suffer from depression, read ahead to be sure that you know what signs to look for just in case.

Prince Pheonix

Left Behind (Spring Awakening) by Prince Pheonix

Symptoms of Depression

  • Feeling sad, frustrated, and hopeless
  • Loss of pleasure in most activities
  • Disturbances in sleep, appetite, concentration, and energy

Warning Signs of Suicide

  • Efforts to put personal affairs in order
  • Direct or indirect references to suicide
  • Extreme fatigue, lack of energy, boredom
  • Decline in grades or absence from school
  • Neglect of personal appearance

Other Risk Factors of Suicide

  • Psychiatric disorders are present in 90% of suicidal adolescents
  • Those who attempted suicide in the past are 60 times more likely to try again
  • Self-harm is an important predictor of future completed suicide
  • Family problems, including verbal abuse and loss of a parent to death or divorce
  • Social factors such as school exclusion and social isolation

Treatments for Depressed or Suicidal Youths

  • Antidepressants
  • Individual, family, or group therapy
  • Removal of weapons, knives, razors, scissors, and drugs from the home is crutial
If you suspect that your child is depressed, the most important thing that you can do is talk to them. For many teens, depression will pass after a short amount of time. Many parents assume that their child is simply "emotional" due to the "storm and stress" of adolescent ages, but this could be the most harmful assumption to make about your child. It never hurts to sit down with your child and talk about their feelings, but ignoring it could have the most drastic effect. If you feel like your child needs psychiatric treatment, start here: http://www.adaa.org/finding-help/treatment/low-cost-treatment.

Another option would be to have your child call 1-800-SUICIDE, a free suicide counseling system.