teen depression what to do

Steps You Should Take If You Think Your Teen Is Depressed

Depression in teens is more than the issues teens have like the moodiest of growing pains and the occasional bouts of angst parents are used to seeing in their adolescent children. It is a deep sadness which affects all aspects of their lives and cannot be controlled by your teenager. The problem is that teen depression can mask itself to look like the normal issues that teens have until it is full blown. At that point you have other issues to deal with along with the depression, like cutting, loses interest in anything, and teen suicide attempts.

Parents are able, more than anyone in a teenager’s life, to see the signs of depression early on, but we often excuse the behavior because we don’t recognize it as significant or we attribute it to something else. But when you do see something that makes you wonder if your teen is depressed, it is time to take action. It is important for parents to error on the side of caution when dealing with a teenager who could possibly be depressed.

Do not ignore the signs of depression in your teen for any reason as the consequences of that are dire. If you are seeing the signs of depression in your teenager, getting the help they need will start them on the path to successful recovery. Do not worry that your teen may not be depressed and you are ‘making too much of it’. If it turns out they are not depressed, you’ve showed them that you cared enough to check it out. Either way, you and your teen win.

Here are the steps you should take if you think your teen is depressed:

  • Talk to your teen. Let them in on what you are seeing and your concern for their health. Show your love verbally as well as through your body language when you are having this talk. Explain that you are there to help. If at this point your teen argues that there are reasons for the behaviors you are seeing, accept that there may be. But, explain to your teen that you can no longer trust your own thoughts on what is going on, so you want to seek some help.
  • Make an appointment for your teen to see their doctor. There could be a physical reason for your teenager to be showing some of the symptoms you are seeing. For instance, thyroid and bipolar conditions cause depression as do other physical conditions. Check your teen’s family medical history. You need to know if there is any clinical depression or other mood disorders in your family that may affect your teen.
  • Make an appointment for your teen with a specialist in adolescent psychology that gears towards whole family. Be open to what the doctor suggests. Sometimes medicine or hospital stays are necessary. Listen to your teen and stay strong for them, giving them a positive outlook towards the problem they are facing. But do not ignore their doctor’s recommendations because they make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Do not share this problem with your extended family, friends, teachers or whoever. If you need to talk to someone, seek a professional. Sharing your teen’s personal medical information with others is a no-no. So, keep this to yourself. Respect your teen’s privacy.
  • Help your teen get through their day-to-day routine while you are getting them help. This may mean you need to back off on your expectations for their grades or other things. But, try to keep as much of a normal routine as you can. Consult with their doctor as to when getting back to their regular routine should happen or if you should change it up a bit.

When a parent notices the signs of depression in their teenager and does something to help them get them past the debilitating aspects of the disorder, they are helping their child succeed. If you are facing this road as a parent, know in your heart that you are doing the best you can.

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