In Australia, one among every five children as well as adolescents suffer from mental health issues and disorders. Those who are aged between 10 to 19 have the greatest prevalence of depression among all age groups. Depression is an extremely complicated illness which affects each individual differently and also has a plethora of causes and symptoms. However, those suffering from the pangs of it during their teenage years can be affected disastrously.
Depression is probably the most common cause of suicide among teenagers.
It can be very difficult to distinguish depressive illness from adolescent turmoil, because the young individual is forging new and challenging roles in the family as well and struggling for independence and making suitable academic decisions.
Both developmental as well as biological factors contribute greatly towards low spirits experienced during adolescence. If psychosis or bipolar disorder is suspected, it would necessitate assessment of biologic causes.
The difficulties faced by an adolescent in various areas of life such as school, peer group, family and relationships can also be adversely consequential on their mind.
A teenager who is suffering from depression may not exhibit obvious signs indicating their problem. However, they can start behaving uncharacteristically by:
- showing less interest in social gatherings
- performing poorly in their academics
- engaging in risky activities, such as careless driving, inappropriate
- sexual attachments, etc.
- engaging in alcohol or drug abuse
- having thoughts about suicide or death
- feeling worthless
- exhibiting indecisiveness and poor concentration
- getting irritated too easily
- having either too less sleep or oversleeping
- overeating or eating less
- feeling tired most of the time
- speaking or moving slower than normal
- neglecting interests and hobbies
- staying isolated from family and friends emotionally
Depressed teenagers can sometimes also experience unexplained pains and aches. If left undiagnosed, these problems can hinder their personal development.
Depression in adolescents is treatable even when the problems are highly severe. There are a variety of treatment options available, but the most common ones are medication and counselling. These two are often used in combination for alleviating the symptoms. CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy is the best treatment. It generally involves sessions and self-help books with a therapist.
Jade Couquaux is a professional French psychologist in Bondi working with individuals as well as couples. If you think that your teenaged child is suffering from depression, book an appointment with her today.