The teenage years can feel like a rollercoaster of emotion. From schoolwork to bullies to new relationships, teens often experience a great deal of stress and anxiety. For parents, it’s important to know what to do when ordinary teen angst becomes a serious problem with depression.
- Notice the signs
Parents need to stay alert to the classic warning signs of depression in teenagers, such as a loss of interest in hobbies, a decline in grades and an avoidance of social situations. Sometimes parents can help by encouraging their teens to do the activities that they once loved, even simple things like going to the mall with friends.
- Talk to them
Teens may feel reluctant to talk about what’s bothering them, but it’s vital to open up some doors of communication. Parents should make their teens feel comfortable expressing themselves and listen to their concerns in a nonjudgmental way. Parental guidance can help teens resolve their problems, but sometimes just providing a sympathetic ear can make all the difference.
- Do activities with them
Parents who spend time with their teens have more opportunities to talk and share their feelings with each other. Unique activities can provide some excitement, but even something as simple as a family dinner can let teens know that they are special and loved.
- Get them evaluated
Sometimes parents need professional help when things get too rough. Depression tests for teens identify problems that will require clinic treatment. Many teens will resist getting evaluated because they don’t want to admit that they have a problem, but taking a depression test are an important first step toward recovery.
- Inquire about talk therapy
Professional talk therapy helps teens work through their depression, especially when they don’t communicate well with their parents. Therapists act as neutral and nonjudgmental parties, making it easier for teens to open up and get to the bottom of their problems.
- Look into alternative treatments
Many teens experience better results when they combine their therapy with alternative treatments, such as music therapy. Yoga can also help reduce stress and increase blood flow.
- Inquire about antidepressants
Sometimes depression isn’t related to what’s going on in a person’s life as much as what’s going on inside a person’s body. Chemicals in the brain and other issues can cause depression all on their own. No matter how much therapy such a person gets, it won’t correct the underlying problem. Psychiatrists may prescribe medications to treat depression, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft).
- Find a depression treatment facility
Depression can cause serious problems if allowed to go untreated. Teens who cannot cope with their feelings may turn to substance abuse or even suicide. When teens find themselves unable to address their depression at home, treatment facilities can provide intensive and around-the-clock care to ensure their safety. Many facilities specialize in treating depression in teenagers.
Teenage depression can take a variety of forms and have a wide range of consequences. If you believe that your teen might be suffering from depression, it’s vital to take the proper steps to protect his or her health and happiness.
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