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Resources for Parents

Expert information and resources to help teens and young adults navigate Iife’s challenges

Do you think your teen might be depressed?

How to Identify and Address Depression

What is depression?

Depression is an illness with many causes and many forms. It is a disorder of someone’s moods or emotions; it is not an attitude that someone can “control” or “snap out of,” but it is treatable with counseling and/or medication.

What is teen depression?

Depression is a condition that affects approximately 5% of children and teens at any given time, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Depression can cause problems such as difficulties in school, difficulties with relationships, and general decreased enjoyment of life. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, one of the leading causes of death for teens in the United States.

What are the symptoms of teen depression?

  • Sad or depressed mood
  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in things he or she used to enjoy
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Crying
  • Inability to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Loss of appetite, or increased appetite
  • Aches and pains that don’t go away, even with treatment
  • Irritability
  • Feeling tired despite getting enough sleep
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Thoughts of suicide, talk  of suicide or suicide attempts

What can you do to help?

Talk To Your Teen About Your Concerns

There may be a specific cause for why he or she is acting a certain way. Opening up the lines of communication lets your teenager know you care and that you are available to talk about the situation.

Talk To Your Pediatrician Or Family Physician

Your provider may be able to discuss the situation with your teen, rule out a medical reason for the behavior, recommend a counselor, or prescribe medication.

Lastly DO NOT Ignore The Signs Or Symptoms Of Depression

Depression is treatable and there is help available for both you and your teen. If left untreated, depression can lead to thoughts of suicide or even the act itself.

If you’re having an emergency right now:

Call 911 or a crisis hotline, contact campus police/security, or go to the emergency department at the nearest hospital.

What Causes Depression?

There are thought to be many causes of depression. There are most likely many factors behind who develops depression and who doesn’t, and these factors are no different for teens.

Traumatic Life Events

Major events such as the loss of a loved one or pet, divorce or remarriage. Any event that causes distress or trauma, or even just a major change in lifestyle, can trigger depression.

Social Situation/Family Circumstances

It has been found that depression runs in families and that there is a genetic basis for depression. Keep in mind, though, that teens who have depression in their family will not necessarily get the illness, and teens without a history of depression in their family can still get the disorder.

Medical Conditions

Occasionally, depression is a sign of another medical illness, such as hypothyroidism, PMS (premenstrual syndrome) or other disorders.

Medications/Illegal Drugs

Some legal, prescription medications can have depression as a side effect. Certain illegal drugs (street drugs) can also cause depression.

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These links are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement, a recommendation, or a favoring by A Brighter Day Charity of any of the services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. A Brighter Day Charity is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with any of these organizations, or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates. A Brighter Day Charity bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

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