Understanding the Complex Nature of Teenage Depression

What is Teenage Depression ?

teenage depressionUp until the 1980s, teenage depression was a subject that was not fully recognized in the medical community. As research began being carried out, it was found that around 8% of teens develop teenage depression. Around 50% of teens who suffer from depression will experience a recurrence at some point in their adult life. As further research is carried out, methods of treatment are being explored to give teens and their parents the necessary tools to fight against teenage depression and lessen its debilitating effects.

To ensure teens get the help they need for depression, it is crucial parents understand the warning signs of teenage depression. Often, parents mistakenly believe their child is just going through a phase or simply being a typical teenager. Though teens can experience a wide range of emotions during puberty, teenage depression causes an onslaught of symptoms that need to be addressed.

* Apathy

* Excess feelings of guilt

* Unnatural preoccupation with death

* Major weight fluctuations

* Extreme sadness

* Anxiety/panic attacks

* Sudden, unexplained drops in grades

* Withdrawal from friends and activities that were once enjoyed

* Irresponsible behavior

* Risky behaviors (drinking, drugs and sexual promiscuity)

* Excessive sleep

Though one or two of these symptoms may come along without the presence of teenage depression, a teen who is presenting multiple symptoms that last for more than a few weeks may be suffering from teenage depression. This illness can put a teen at risk for suicidal thoughts, which makes the need for treatment even more crucial.

Proper diagnose is important for treating teens with teenage depression. A depression diagnosis is reached after careful medical testing, psychological testing and interviewing has taken place. Doctors not only talk with the teen, but also their family members and teachers. The feedback provided by all of these sources is used in conjunction with the information gleaned from identifying the teen’s symptoms. Once a diagnosis has been reached, the methods of treatment for teenage depression need to be weighed carefully.

The subject of treating teenage depression is rife with confusion. This is because the traditional methods of treatment have been geared towards adults suffering from depression. Antidepressants used to treat adults can cause suicidal and self-harm thoughts in teens with teenage depression.

Since 1982, the FDA has been issuing warning statements about the use of antidepressants for treating teenage depression. Debate continues over the risks versus the benefits. Since studies have not revealed a definitive answer on whether or not antidepressants should be used to treat teenage depression, it is crucial medical providers and parents monitor the teen carefully for any adverse reactions to the medication.

In a study carried out by the National Institute of Mental Health, three out of four patients saw significant improvement in their teenage depression symptoms after being treated with a combination of Prozac and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Prozac is one of the few antidepressant medications that has been FDA approved to treat teenage depression in patients between the ages of 8 and 18. When this medication is coupled with therapy, teens learn to recognize their thinking patterns so they can use preventative interactions to decrease their symptoms of teenage depression.

Effect For Teenage Depression

Parents will need to monitor their teen’s behavior while they are on medications for teenage depression. It is imperative parents understand the warning signs to look for when their teen is suicidal.

* The teen may express increased hopelessness about their future.

* They may make threats of suicide.

* The teen may begin to act as if no one cares about them. They may also stop caring about themselves.

* Suicidal teens may give away favorite possessions, write goodbye letters or even make a will.

* Suicidal thoughts can cause teens to begin using and abusing drugs to avoid facing reality.

The outlook for teenage depression is a promising one. The more parents get involved in helping their teen, the better the outcome. Parents who are supportive and understanding while their teen is fighting teenage depression can assist their teen in growing stronger mentally and emotionally.

Parents who offer their support and validate their teen’s feelings of teenage depression will be able to help their teen overcome their symptoms and begin to enjoy life again. Though it takes time for healing to take place after a teen suffers from teenage depression, positive changes can be experienced through medication, therapy, and support. Being there for a teen without placing too much pressure on them can make the journey to freedom from teenage depression much easier to travel.