Are You Sure Your Teen Is "Just Moody?"
For many people, holiday seasons are anything but joyful. This is not only true for adults, but young people, too. Mood swings in teens are something most adults are only too aware of. Is it hormones or is it something more serious? How do you tell the difference? What if it is a serious problem? What if the teen is suicidal? Adolescent depression is increasing at an alarming rate. Recent surveys indicate that as many as 1 in 5 teens suffer from clinical depression.
Today's teens are bombarded with so many conflicting messages from television, school, magazines and newspapers, the Internet, parents, and teachers. Unrealistic academic, social, and family expectations can create a strong sense of rejection and disappointment. Teens need adult guidance to understand all the emotional and physical changes they are experiencing.
When teens' moods disrupt their ability to function on a day-to-day basis, it may indicate a serious disorder - teen depression. Parents and caregivers must then take action. If one or more symptoms last for more than two weeks, depression should be seriously considered. It is extremely important that depressed teens receive prompt, professional treatment. If left untreated, it can become life threatening.
Warning signs and symptoms:
- Poor performance in school
- Withdrawal from friends and activities
- Sadness and hopelessness
- Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
- Anger and rage
- Overreaction to criticism
- Feelings of being unable to satisfy ideals
- Poor self-esteem or guilt
- Indecision, lack of concentration, forgetfulness
- Restlessness and agitation
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Substance abuse
- Problems with authority
- Suicidal thoughts, planning, or actions
Remember: few adolescents seek help on their own - encouragement from friends and family are vital toward helping the teen toward recovery.
*Information provided courtesy of Mental Health America of Franklin County.