Depression in the Adolescent

Depression is a disorder that can also appear in adolescence and that makes it difficult for a young person to continue with their daily routine.

Although most associate the word depression with adulthood, the truth is that 5 out of 100 adolescents in our country suffer from this disorder. It is a serious problem that is not less important because it occurs in a young person.
Depression is a disorder that can appear in adolescence and that hinders the ability of the young person to continue with their daily routine and breaks the foundations of their relationship with family and friends. For this reason, it is important that parents of adolescent boys are vigilant and can detect signs of a possible depressive state in their children. However, these can be difficult to differentiate from the usual mood swings, present and normal in this evolutionary stage.

What are the warning signs?

There are a variety of clues that can be observed in adolescent behavior that could be indicating the presence of a depressive disorder. However, as mentioned above, many of these behaviors can be perfectly normal at that age, especially if they occur in isolation and not prolonged in time. Therefore, given the existence of suspicions on the part of the parents, it will always be necessary to consult with a psychology professional to evaluate the specific case.
Some of these signs to watch out for are:

  • Feelings of sadness , lamentation and frequent crying, for no apparent reason.
  • Write, read or listen to music on sad and melancholic topics , on the lack of meaning in life or with a pessimistic and desperate approach.
  • Lack of hygiene and neglect in physical appearance.
  • Low energy, boredom and general apathy . You can show a discouraged and negative attitude, without illusion or motivation for the reality you are living.
  • Stop engaging in physical , social or cultural activities or limit those that were previously enjoyable or of interest to you.
  • Social isolation , which leads them to stop spending time with friends and family, and which is generally accompanied by a perception that others do not pay enough attention or understand them.
  • Difficulty making decisions and facing adverse situations.
  • Low self-esteem : they tend to present feelings of guilt, along with high self-criticism and poor self-esteem. A depressed adolescent may feel like a failure, incapacitated, and guilty of negative life circumstances that he or she is going through at the time.
  • Presence of certain physical symptoms , such as dizziness or vomiting, and frequent pain, mainly in the head or belly.

Changes in studies, sleep and diet

In the educational environment, a significant drop in academic performance may appear , with difficulties for concentration and attention in class. In this case, it is common to show disinterest in studies and not attend school regularly, together with an attitude that can be conflictive with teachers and classmates.
In addition, there are often significant changes in sleeping and eating patterns. Regarding the former, the manifestations may consist of going to bed very late, having difficulties falling asleep at night and getting up in the morning, suffering from restlessness with frequent awakenings, having drowsiness throughout the day, etc. At the dietary level, certain behaviors related to a significant loss of appetite or compulsive food intake may appear. Likewise, they show a tendency to abuse alcohol and drugs as a way to avoid depressed mood and in search of momentary relief from their situation.

Depressed adolescents tend to show strong irritability , projecting their frustration and anger towards relatives or other trusted people, with whom they are excessively critical. Other times, depression leads them to adopt risky social behaviors (drug use, fights, robberies …). On some occasions, the boy may threaten to leave home, harm himself or express ideas or suicide attempts.

How to act?

In the event that the parents of a teenager suspect that their child may be suffering from depressive symptoms, it is important first of all to seek the professional help of a psychologist. At the same time, the support that the young person can receive from family and friends to improve their condition is essential . Some indications that parents and close contacts of the child may take into account are the following:

  • Foster a strong emotional bond with the young person. It is important that they feel loved and valued.
  • Show interest in their life , their experiences, their mood, etc. Having fluent and frequent conversations with the adolescent and offering help and support in aspects that may be worrying him or that he does not know how to deal with are important actions to overcome the situation.
  • Never disregard a suicide threat or attempt.

The paper of the parents

It must be borne in mind that many young people with depressive symptoms have not developed enough maturity to become aware that they have a problem and that on many occasions they will not know where or how to ask for the appropriate help. For this reason, it is important that parents can guide them and offer them the necessary support, while collaborating in the most appropriate psychological treatment for each case.

What you should know…
  • Depression hampers a youth’s ability to continue with their daily routine and breaks the foundation of their relationships with family and friends.
  • Given the existence of suspicions on the part of the parents, it will always be necessary to consult with a psychology professional to evaluate the specific case
  • Symptoms : a significant drop in academic performance may appear, there are often significant changes in sleeping and eating patterns …

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