Helping a Child Who Suffers From Depression
Adolescence is full of trials and tribulations. We can all remember moments of feeling like the world was going to end because of a social blunder, a fight with a friend, or a bad grade on a test. It is normal for adolescents to experience periods of emotional turmoil. Parents, however, need to be aware of when those normal mood swings are an indication of a more serious problem.
According to the National Association of School Psychologists, approximately 12% of adolescents experience clinical depression, and adolescent girls are twice as likely as boys to become depressed.
Symptoms of Depression
Adolescents with depression experience some of the same symptoms of depression as adults, such as:
- persistent sad or irritable moods
- loss of interest in activities
- changes in appetite and sleeping
- difficulty concentrating
- thoughts of death or suicide
Additionally, adolescents with depression may:
- express physical complaints
- have poor academic performance
- express feelings of boredom
- act in an angry, hostile, or reckless manner
- be extremely sensitive to rejection or failure
When to See a Professional
Whenever parents suspect that their children are experiencing any of the above symptoms of depression, it is important that they discuss their concerns with a qualified health professional.
Depression can be very effectively treated, especially when treatment is provided in early stages. In some instances, research has found therapy to be as effective as anti-depressant medication. That said, anti-depressant medication is another potential treatment option worth discussing with a doctor or psychologist who has experience treating adolescents.