Teenage angst is a thing. But sometimes it’s more serious than occasional moodiness – 1 in 5 teens will experience major depression by the time they turn 18 years old.
Depression is different from typical teenage moodiness. For starters, it’s not something that comes and goes – it sticks around over time. Teens with depression may also isolate themselves more – it’s a red flag when a once social kid wants to stay in their room all the time and avoids interacting with friends.
Other key symptoms include:
- Feeling sad, frustrated, restless or hopeless
- Lack of interest in activities
- Weight loss – or weight gain
- Difficultly falling asleep or staying asleep, or sleeping much more than usual
- Moving or talking slowly
- Feeling lethargic
- Having trouble concentrating, remembering information or making decisions
- Thinking about suicide
If your teen experiences these symptoms over a period of time, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a primary care physician. He or she can provide treatment options or direct you to the right specialist. For more immediate concerns, Linden Oaks Behavioral Health, part of Edward-Elmhurst Health, offers 24/7 access to treatment and free assessments to evaluate teens who are struggling to determine next steps.
There are several treatment options for teens who are diagnosed with depression. Therapy, antidepressants or a combination of the two are commonly prescribed to help treat the condition.
There are also lifestyle changes that can help teens feel better over time. Getting enough sleep, focusing on a healthy diet, abstaining from drugs and alcohol and limiting social media may help. It’s also a good idea to encourage teens to get involved – whether it’s a sport, art, music or volunteer work. Staying busy can keep kids from getting bored and improves their ability to interact, problem solve and handle emotions.