Teen angst is not depression. Depression in teenagers can appear to be very similar to the normal moodiness teenagers display. Kids tend to be up one minute and down the next as their hormones race out of control and their day to day life varies from one 45 minute class to the next. Of course, signs a teenager is depressed can often be overlooked and confused as normal teenage dissatisfaction with the world at large.
Signs a teenagers is depressed can include what can be interpreted as normal behaviors, including isolation, disassociation in family activities, slipping school work, loss of friends, and suspicious behaviors which may indicate drug use or alcohol use. While any given teenager may experience these behaviors from time to time, the culmination of all such behaviors should be looked at very carefully.
Some teenagers will simply admit to being depressed when asked. While they may not come to you with the information, that shouldn’t prevent you from asking the question. Many teenagers realize that unlike public opinion of even just 20 years ago, there is no shame in depression. When teenagers realize their depression, they often do go about looking for ways to feel better. Some will focus on a hobby while others will start leaving clues in regards to their emotions.
Clues may include conversations based on emotional responses to events happening in their life. It may also include a sudden and obvious change in their willingness to talk to their parents about any given topic. A kid may start showing an unusual amount of interest in the emotional responses of their parents, often inquiring to how they feel about events that have gone on in both their life and their parents’ life. Part of them is hoping that at least one parent may be experiencing a little bit of a struggle so that there is a parent within the household that can identify with them and help them feel less alone.
If you notice signs your teenager is depressed, it is imperative that they are provided with help in dealing with their emotions. Despite the fact that they may need to seek professional help against their will and every Thursday night might turn into fight your teenager into the car night, they will understand that they need the help as their life is slowly slipping farther and farther out of their control.
Teenagers with depression issue are far more likely to experiment with illegal and mind altering substances while other may find that self harm is their drug of choice. Excessive television viewing and excessive amounts of time in front of the computer can also indicate depression.
Whether a teenager or adult, depression creates difficulties when it comes to dealing with every day life situations and every depressed teen will look outside of themselves to find the comforts they are seeking.
The good news is that a depressed teenager can usually be helped. While they struggle with incidents in their life, teenagers are resilient creatures that really want to be happy, productive, and generally care about their impact on the world. After all, they want to feel important and dignified. Teenagers are not immune to the social and governmental impact on our society, and teenagers with a cause are less likely to be depressed for long periods of time simply because they know that they matter and their actions matter. Teenagers without the feeling of importance in the world tend to experience depression more often and with greater intensity.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that if you are noticing signs your teenager is depressed that you should run out and get them a social cause to get them off the couch, it means that this is one way a teenager finds their own influence and value in the impact they can have on society. Everyone likes and needs to feel important. Teenagers will sometimes look to the wrong examples to gain that sense of importance. That is how gangs develop and is a leading contributing factor in sexual promiscuity. It takes a parent’s dedication and constant commitment to understand the issues their teenager faces and to offer them reasonable resources to deal with depression.