When normal teen behavior includes being withdrawn, moody, and argumentative, it can be hard to recognize when your teen is depressed.
It helps to have a good relationship with your teen, and watch for changes in what is normal for your teen.
Any teen who exhibits signs of depression for six months or more, or who talks about or attempts suicide, should be evaluated by a medical professional immediately.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about your teen’s behavior.
- Has my teen had a sudden loss or gain of weight?
- Does my teen still enjoy participating in social activities and socializing with their friends?
- Has my teen lost interest in or stopped caring about things they used to enjoy?
- Has my teen become indecisive or unusually irritable?
- Is my teen suddenly sleeping more than usual, or experiencing insomnia?
- Does my teen seem to have no energy?
- Does my teen seem easily frustrated by little things?
- Is my teen crying a lot?
- Have my teen’s grades in school begun to drop?
- Does my teen ever expressed feelings of worthlessness?
- Has my teen ever said they wish they were dead?
- Does my teen say that things seem pointless or would be better if they weren’t around?
- Has my teen ever mentioned or threatened suicide?
- Has my teen recently experienced a significant loss, such as the death of a close friend?
- Has my teen recently given away possessions that were their favorite?
- Has my teen expressed interest in or mentioned making a will?
Your parental instincts may be telling you that your teen is depressed, even though you can’t say exactly why, trust your instincts and have your child evaluated.
It is better to find out your teen is not depressed than run the risk of ignoring a potentially dangerous and fatal condition.
Antidepressant medications are usually used to treat adults who are depressed. However, these medications may not be a good choice for treating depression in teens.
There have been reports of an increase in suicidal tendencies in teens and children who have used antidepressant medications.
Still medication may be appropriate for your teen; only your health care provider can make this decision. Therapy may also be recommended for your teen; your family may benefit from joint therapy as well.
You can help your teen overcome depression by seeing that they have a healthy diet which contains plenty of protein, healthy fats including essential fatty acids, and that they avoid junk food and sugar.
Your child should be consuming about 1 gram of protein for every pound they weigh. Fish is a good source of protein and healthy fats; try making fish tacos. Nuts and seeds are also a good source of protein and healthy fat. Your teen might enjoy snacking on spicy nuts and seeds as a snack.