Being a teenager can be difficult, from the stages of puberty to the pressure of fitting in with groups in school, there’s a lot of stress they can go through in their lives. With all this stress and pressure, a teenager can experience anxiety and depression. These medical conditions can be a struggle to live with and if not treated, it can lead other serious issues including eating disorders and self-harm.
Though most might not want to talk about their feelings, it’s important to notice that teen depression is a very serious issue. Fortunately, conditions like anxiety and depression can be treatable, but knowing what to spot is key.
Here are few signs to look for if you feel your teenager might suffering from depression and anxiety.
Some of the early warning signs can be noticeable. Anything from frequent irritability and sudden outbursts of anger, to complaints of headaches or other body problems are all ways of spotting depression. Teens can also seem more sensitive to criticism and might not want to engage in some of their favorite activities. According to the United States National Library of Medicine, if your teen is experiencing these types of symptoms longer than a couple of weeks, please visit a doctor.
Behavior is also a key sign to spot when it comes to anxiety and depression. They could be having difficulty in school or at home. Teens might also have a drop in their grades, attendance and might not be doing their assigned homework. They can also be pulling themselves away from family and friends and want to spend more time alone.
Other notable changes that can be spotted is the changes in their daily routine. Those signs can include having trouble sleeping or sleeping longer than usual. Teens can also have a change in their eating habits such as eating more than normal or not eating at all. They might also have a more difficult time concentrating or making decisions.
Depression can be very harmful when left untreated, so don’t wait to see if the symptoms go away. As a parent or guardian, talking to your teenager in a loving way is key for helping them out. Open a conversation and let them know you are concerned with their behavior. Then ask your child about what they are going through and be ready to listen.
And though conversation is key, you can also help your teen through their depression by encouraging social engagement. Ways to do that can be getting them involved in activities with family or friends or helping them join a sport or club. Encouraging teens by praising their talents is a way to help improve their self-esteem and gain more enthusiasm.
Also having a healthy diet and proper nutrition can better improve brain health and mood. The best foods to eat are those with healthy fats, high in protein and fresh produce. Eating junk food and sugary products can only worsen their symptoms.
If signs don't seem to improve, reach out to specialist immediately and if you feel they are considering suicide, call 1-800-SUICIDE or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.