The years of adolescence are often marked with turbulence and teenage trauma is a reality for many. On top of it, when the teen is suffering from a mental health problem, like depression, the journey could be even more jarring. For parents, handling a teen with some mental health issue can be quite unnerving, especially because symptoms of depression might be overlooked.
When left unattended, symptoms can deteriorate and can complicate the treatment. Hence, it is paramount to pick up subtle hints and address at the earliest any anomalies in a teen’s behavior. Here are seven signs that may suggest that the teen could be suffering from depression:
- Extreme melancholy: Extreme sadness in a teen is a telltale sign of depression, be it mild or severe. Teenage is a phase when one is full of energy and enthusiasm. It is natural for a teenager to be exuberant and excited about life. But when it is the opposite, it can be a sign of trouble and turmoil inside him. Never overlook the deep sadness in a teen, it is about time to intervene.
- Abrupt and drastic change in weight and eating habits: Studies reveal that teens who are obese are twice as likely to be depressed. If a child is paranoid about his or her weight, it could be a sign of depression. On the other hand, when a teen suddenly changes the food habit or has added extra bulges, it could also be a sign of depression or the onset of it.
- Depleting self-esteem: When an otherwise confident teen becomes skeptical of his or her abilities, then it could be because of depleting self-worth triggered by depression. In the advent of depression, self-belief is the first casualty and self-confidence is deeply corroded.
- Unusual sleep pattern: Depression also takes a toll on one’s sleep. Sound sleep is a distant dream for somebody suffering from depression. If a child stops sleeping adequately or stays awake till the wee hours, it is time to consult a psychiatrist. Deprived sleep can spell trouble for the child very soon.
- Becoming a recluse: Teenage is all about bonding, bonhomie and camaraderie. Hanging out with friends and peers is natural for a teenager, at times, much to the chagrin of the parents who do not approve of their constant wasting of time. But when a teen becomes aloof and refrains from mingling with friends, it could be due to depression. One should initiate a discussion with such a child and probe further.
- Dwindling grades in school: When a brilliant child suddenly fares poorly in school with grades plummeting, it is an ominous sign of depression and unrest within. No parents should neglect such a scenario and should take these matters seriously. Things can be turned around by showering love, instilling confidence and encouragement.
- Complaints of physical discomfort: A depressed teen is likely to complain of physical discomfort and pain. There would be fatigue and lethargy for no reason. This could also be a fallout of depression in a child. Hence, a complaint from a child should not be taken lightly, instead it should be addressed promptly.