Depression in young people is a serious health problem that causes persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects the thinking, feelings and behavior, and can cause emotional, functional and physical problems.
Although the mood disorders, such as depression, can occur at any point in life, symptoms can be different between young people and adults.
Problems, such as peer pressure, academic expectations and changes in the body, can bring a lot of ups and downs for the young people, but for some it’s not just about temporary feelings, but also a symptom of depression.
Depression in adolescents is not a weakness or something that can be overcome with willpower. It can have serious consequences and requires long-term treatment. For most teenagers, the symptoms of depression can be treated successfully once they are properly recognized.
Some of the signs and symptoms of depression in adolescent include changes in emotions and behavior.
Emotional changes can include:
- A feeling of sadness, which may include crying for no apparent reason
- Irritability, frustration or sadness, even for the small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities
- Loss of interest in friends and family, or conflict with them
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, fixation on past failures, excessive self-blame or self-criticism
- Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure, the need for excessive persuasion
- Problems of concentration, thinking, decision-making and remembering events
- The feeling that the life and future of a terrible and gloomy
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Changes in behavior may also include:
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Insomnia or too much sleep
- Appetite changes, such as decreased appetite or increased appetite for food and gaining weight
- The use of alcohol or drugs
- Agitation or anxiety
- Slowed thinking, speech or body movements
- Frequent complaints of unexplained body aches and headache
- Weak school performance or frequent absences from school
- Neglected look like misfits clothes and messy hair
- Risky behavior
Treatment of adolescent depression
There are many possibilities for the treatment of adolescent depression. In some cases, doctors can prescribe medications that alleviate symptoms of depression. However, many teenagers will need to see a psychiatrist or psychologist. The combination of medication and psychological counseling is very effective for most teenagers with depression.
If your child has severe depression, or is at risk of self-harm, the best option is stay in the hospital or participates in outpatient treatment until symptoms improve.
Since studies on the effects of antidepressants for youth are limited, doctors rely on drugs used in adults. However, as in adults, other drugs may be required depending on the needs.
Talk to your doctor about possible side effects, and evaluate the benefits and risks. In some cases, side effects can be withdrawn after the body adapts to the drug treatment.
While antidepressants are generally safe when taken as directed, in some cases, they can lead to an increase in suicidal thoughts and behavior, especially in the first few weeks after beginning therapy or when changing dose. If you notice that your child is having suicidal thoughts while taking antidepressants, immediately contact your doctor.
For most teenagers, the benefits of antidepressants are generally larger than the possible risks.
Carefully follow the medication your child. To have impact, antidepressants should be taken as directed by a doctor.
Finding the right medication or dosage may take some time, given that certain antidepressants have full effect only after long-term use, while others can cause side effects if you suddenly stop taking.
In the case of pregnancy, be sure to consult your doctor about taking medication, because some antidepressants may pose an increased risk to the unborn child.
Psychotherapy or counseling is a general term for the treatment of depression by talking with a professional. Psychotherapy can be carried out individually, with family members or in a group.
Through psychological counseling, teenagers can learn more about the causes of depression, how to recognize it and make changes in unhealthy behavior or thoughts, explore relationships and experiences, find better ways to cope and solve problems, and set realistic goals.
Psychotherapy can help the adolescent to return a sense of happiness and control, relieve symptoms, such as hopelessness and anger, but also teach him how to adapt to the crisis or other difficulties.
Hospitalization and other therapeutic programs
In some people, depression can be very serious and require hospitalization, especially if the young person is at risk of self-harm or to make injury to other persons.
Treatment programs can also be helpful. These programs provide support and counseling as long as the symptoms of depression are not under control.