Is your teen experiencing excess sadness, anger, loneliness, isolation or loss of interests? If yes, these are warning signs that your teen may be depressed. The excess or prolonged sadness can negatively impact your teen in a mental and physical manner. You may notice a change in over sleeping for school, going to bed extremely late or simply not wanting to get out of bed. Struggles with under and over eating may also be present.
Explosive or inappropriate behaviors combined with patterns of extreme sadness or anger are common in depression as well. Crying and irritability are both symptoms of depression. The excess emotional turmoil does result in a loss of energy and lack of pleasure for everyday activities. Having fun and hobbies are almost not existent for your teen. A pattern of purposely staying alone in their rooms or isolating themselves from supportive family or friends is also visible. Depression is all encompassing and can lead you to not recognize your teen.
Teens with depression can have social or conduct problems at school, poor grades, illegal drug use, exhibit risky behavior, excess sexual behavior, increased violence, elope from home, low self esteem, may turn to self harm and even suicide.
Anger is not typically seen as related to depression (and anxiety as well) but it can be. Anger displayed by way of breaking things, yelling, fighting or hurting others can present a danger. Children and teens with excess anger need a positive way to process this appropriate feeling, before it develops into depression. The explosiveness and inappropriate behavior can be redirected via new positive skills taught during therapy sessions.
It is important to note depression in teens is much more than just everyday hormonal changes or the blues. The blues or sadness does not impact your teen for weeks at a time and they learn to cope with the blues. Depression is different in that it is all encompassing and can have long lasting negative symptoms. When a teen is depressed they do not understand why they are sad and lack the insight to change their behavior. If you believe your child or teen may be experiencing symptoms of depression please check in with them, and ask them if counseling or coaching would benefit them.
Young Adult + Millennial Depression
Depression is a period of prolonged sadness or anger. It may come without a true cause and if left untreated may cycle through out your life. You can feel empty, alone, isolated and a loss of energy. You may have episodes of excessive crying or explosive anger. Depression can cause you to feel guilty and as if you do not belong. You may feel as if you do not want to get out of bed and make you isolate yourself.
Having poor grades in college, poor work performance, lack of interest in relationships, risky behavior, drinking, drug use, concentration problems and suicide are all related to depression. Some young adults may hide depression symptoms by excess alcohol use, drug use or simply ignore the problem. Hiding or masking the depression will not make the depression go away, it will only help it grow and eventually spiral out of control.
You may question if you truly are depressed or if this is just sadness. The difference is sadness is a feeling that you can cope with sadness and you pinpoint where it is coming from. Sadness lasts about a couple of days at most and is not debilitating. Depression is all encompassing, both physically and emotionally draining.
Prolonging the search for a counselor or therapist, plus the isolation due to the depression can contribute to what seems to be a never ending cycle of sadness, anger, loss of interest and loneliness. Hope does exist and you can feel understood, validated and connected again. Through counseling and coaching, your depression can be reduced and you can work to eliminate the above depression symptoms.