Some time ago I did a blog about Adult depression. While doing the research on Adult melancholy, I heard quite a lot of information regarding depression in general, along with what I already knew because I suffer with this condition myself. What I did not understand, however, is just how widespread this problem is in the people at large, and in children and adolescents specifically.
One source stated that depression is near the top psychological condition in the western world (more about what this means in a later blog; it will have a whold blog to talk about what this means). This report will cover the following: adolescent and children depression numbers; adolescent and children – specific depression symptoms (such as “overall” symptoms, take a look at the Adult blog), and, what you, as the parent or gaurdian, can do if you recognize the symptoms in one of yours.
As many as 8.3percent of teenagers from the U.S. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in teens. As many as one in every 33 children and roughly one in 8 adolescents may have depression. Treatment of major depression is as effective for children as it is for adults. Twenty years ago depression in children was almost unknown. Now the fastest rate of growth in depression is one of young folks. I don’t know about you, but this statistic scares me the most! The statistics on adolescent depression are sobering.
Studies indicate that one in five (1 in 5) kids have some type of psychological, behavioral, or emotional problem, which one in ten (1 in 10) might have a serious psychological issue. What’s even more frightening is that of all of these kids and teens struggling with behavioral and emotional difficulties, a mere 30% get any kind of intervention or therapy. Another 70% only fight through the pain of mental illness or emotional turmoil, doing their best to make it into maturity. Many theorize that this is the reason the suicide rate in teenagers is so significant.
Teen/Children depression symptoms
As we see above, therapy (i.e., counselling, therapy, or medical intervention( if desired ) for depression is as effective for teens/children because it is for Adults. Let me say that again; study from many different sources indicates that proper treatment for depression in a teenager or a kid is as powerful as it is for Adults. So, what, as a parent or gurdian, should we look for? What are the indicators of genuine depression, rather than just a “bad mood”?
This does not mean that you should ignore a teenager’s /kid’s bad mood when it lasts for a couple of days or a couple of weeks. What it does mean is that, at a minimum, you, the parent/guardian should know enough about your teenager’s /child’s regular daily activities so you can know when there are changes. OK, what covers”normal daily activities” to get a teen/child? And, in this, we’re sticking to American generic teens/children, because that is what I’m most famaliar with. As you read through this list, bear in mind that your teen/child must have”a siginficant” variety of those symptoms; they need to be ongoing, from character; and impair the teenager’s /child’s normal daily activities (seem familiar? )
- Snapping at people for no apparent reason – being irritable at everyone.
- Physically or verbally aggressive in any respect.
- Abandoning favorite hobbies or sports or other regular, daily activities.
- Increased passive TV watching (in which the teen/child has that”thousand yard stare” and isn’t interacting with the applications ).
- Increased risk-taking; e.g., dangerous driving; climbing too high in a tree and jumping, breaking something; additional repeated unusually dangerous pursuits.
- Misuse of alcohol and drugs. Particularly teens, who use alcohol and drugs to “escape”.
- Changes in school behaviours (such as training courses and work settings) for adolescents; changes in social behaviors and actions in a pre-school setting (i.e., used to like to color and play with clay; now just sits in a corner, holding a stuffed toy and sucking on a thumb).
- Complains of being bored (teen); a kid whose focus waivers when it did not before. A child who, through a group studying, who used to sit and listen, now gets up and wanders around.
- Becomes disruptive in class (both adolescents and kids ).
- Finds it more difficult to stay on task. Finds decisions difficult to make. In a child this may seem like the following: not able to match blocks by color when s/he can before; unable to choose between playing basketball and jumping rope once the kid ALWAYS choose playing basketball before. You may think of your own examples, I’m sure.
- Cannot recall commitments – does not keep appointments (teen).
- Has difficulty staying or conversely, is lethargic (sluggish). This could apply to both a teenager and a kid. It is possible to picture, in your head, the teen or kid in continuous movement; twitching, shaking a foot, or both feet; tackling things; etc.. OR, the adolescent or kid who sits or places with that thousand yard stare again. AND, again, this is unusual behavior for the adolescent or kid.
- Changes in relationships with family and friends. Usually, this change manifests itself in hostility, or in passivity. Arguing when s/he did not before; or, using the”whatever” response, when s/he used to speak with you.
- Stops going out with friends; shows no interest in group excursions.
- Increase or decrease in sexual activity (hopefully, an OLDER TEEN).
- May begin associating with another peer group (which”bad influence” group as a teenager; the”rowdy” children as a kid ).
- Loses interest in actions which once were fun.
- More conflicts with parents and siblings than normal.
- Changes in sleeping and eating habits.
- Expresses inappropriate guilt, feelings of not being good enough, worthlessness, failure. I can see this at a teenager; not certain how this would look in a kid.
- Expresses hopelessness and never have to anticipate.
- Speaks in a dull or monosyllabic method.
- Has a preoccupation with self; is removed.
- Cries easily, seems sad, feels isolated or alone.
- Has anxieties about having to be perfect.
- Fearful of doing something awful.
- Incidents of self-injury. Ideas of killing self. I don’t have any idea of how this would search for a kid, and hope to not have this idea!
What to do?
- don’t try and talk them out of the feelings; rather, ask them if they could describe their feelings. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, learn the above symptoms and understand your teen/child.
- If a child, visit their day care occasionally, and lern their regular; ask the teachers to alert you if their regular changes.
- If a teenager, go to ALL of your teen’s teacher conferences to learn the routines of the normal school day, and ask to be alerted immediately to changes.
- For both adolescents and kids, know their friends; see if your house can become the”gathering place”; get to know the parents of your child’s or adolescent’s friends and agree to let each other know if you find any changes in behaviour.
- In most cases, keep a journal of any changes which you see, so you will have the ability to discuss the situation with terrific clarity and specificity with professionals, should the need arise.
- Respond with kindness, love, and support if you believe that your child/teen is experiencing issues that can result in depression.
- Let your child or teen know that you’re there, if she or he desires you, and do this frequently and in age-specific ways.
- Keep trying, however softly, in case your adolescent shuts you out (depressed teenagers don’t need to feel patronized or crowded).
- don’t criticize or pass judgment, when the child or teen starts to speak (the important thing is he or she’s talking and communicating feelings). REMEMBER, NEVER CRITICIZE FEELINGS; everybody has the right to their feelings, even if you believe they are “wrong”. Let them be voiced; if inapproptiate, seek professional aid.
- Encourage activity and praise attempts.
- Seek assistance from a doctor or mental health professional, if the teenager’s or kid’s depressed feeling does not pass with time (be ready to record behaviors, note how long and how frequently they’ve been happening, and how severe they seem – hence, the journal mentioned above).
- don’t wait and hope that symptoms will go away by themselves. Better to find help and be advised that your teen/child is good than to allow your teen/child become among the 70% that never get help.
- When depression is severe – if teenagers or kids are considering hurting themselves or about suicide – seek expert help as soon as possible.
- Parents of depressed adolescents may themselves need assistance.
What a few of my friends and I did with alcohol once we’d teenagers; we retained a “mark” (usually concealed so the teens could not see it on the jar) that changed each time we used the jar. This manner, we could know instantly if the teenagers were drinking, and might take care of the circumstance.