As a teenager, there are many changes you need to face and worries that you need to overcome. These changes and the anxiety that they inevitably cause may affect your behavior and the way you deal with things. For parents, these changes in teenagers’ behavior can be frustrating at the best of times. It’s easy to think that this is just normal teenage behavior or rebellion and we might overlook or not consider depression as a possibility. However, according to statistics up to 20 % of all teens experience depression. Depression is the third leading cause of death for young people and it also the number one illness causing disability.
What is depression? Depression is a severe mood disorder that affects a person’s daily and quality of life. It causes long lasting and intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness and sometimes anger that changes the person’s way of thinking and their overall behaviour. This can have a serious effect on school work and homelife. It can be very distressing for parents too. If you suspect that your teenager may be suffering from depression it’s important to try and identify which kind of depression may be at play.
Types of depression include:
Teenagers have to deal with many physical and emotional changes during their adolescence. This is the result of growing from a child to an adult. Teenage years are tough ones. Since their bodies are constantly changing and they are neither a child nor an adult, it’s no wonder they can act out and start to rebel. They are so unsure of themselves and don’t understand their purpose in life so this stage in most teenagers life is a hard one. In the end, they will mature and embrace all the changes they go through.
These changes include:
Hormonal changes involve the production of hormones that cause physical changes to your body such as bodily hair, breasts and pimples (acne is common in teenagers due to hormonal changes). Voice changes are common for teenage boys while the beginning of menstruation is a very difficult time for girls.
During adolescence boys and girls experience changes to their bodies such as:
Psychological changes happen because there are new challenges every day that affect the way teenagers think. They are constantly surrounded by their peers and peer pressure can have a huge effect on a teens psychological thinking. Am I cool enough? Do they like me? Not only that but due to their hormones teens moods are on a constant roller coaster. This isn’t just maddening for the parents but can also be utterly draining for the teen.
While there are no exact causes for teen depression, there are many contributing factors that may lead to depression. These include:
The symptoms of depression may often be mistaken for adolescent turmoil. This can make the depression quite difficult to spot for a concerned parent. You may be unsure if your teenager is just being a typical moody teen, or if there is something more sinister going on. However there are some telltale signs to watch out for. If you notice a combination of these symptoms, it’s time to start thinking seriously about treatment options.
These symptoms include:
Depression can be a life-threatening illness. If not treated it may worsen and lead to suicidal thoughts and actions. However, it can be really hard to get your teen to open up to you about how he or she is feeling. This could be because they are afraid of being judged or ridiculed. It could also be because they simply don’t understand how they feel themselves. Helping your teen through this very tough period is important. Some of the effective ways to help teens cope with depression include:
Medication is also a widespread treatment for all kinds of depression. Medication can have some nasty side effects though, and it can take months or even years to find the medications that suits you best. The most common medications are:
Studies on CBD oil have shown that CBD might be able to act as an antidepressant alternative. This is because the chemical compound (cannabidiol) acts on the endocannabinoid system and triggers it. When this happens it helps nervous tissue develop and grow. While it’s showing positive results in treating depression it’s also said to battle stress and anxiety. Studies also show that CBD can help you sleep, meaning that it could be used as an alternative to combat insomnia.
A 2006 study revealed that daily use of cannabis in patients decreased the levels of depressive symptoms. Another chemical compound known as THC showed that this chemical helped improve a patient’s response to negative emotions.
These are the most common medicine that doctors prescribe to their patients along with other talking therapies. However, do everything that you can to avoid antidepressants, especially for teenagers. Teenagers are still growing and their brains are still developing. Antidepressants can worsen the effects of depression and they are highly addictive.
Adolescence behaviour is somehow unpredictable. This is not an excuse to disregard their feelings. In fact, mental illnesses like anxiety and depression can affect any gender at any age. If you are feeling depressed do not hesitate to talk to a family member or to someone you trust because the chances are that they know what you’re going through and have probably walked in your shoes (we were all teenagers once). Try not to isolate yourself from the world. Surround yourself with the people you love and the people who love you. And don’t forget to visit your doctor to discuss possible treatment plans.