Depression And Teens - Six Signs That Your Child May Be Suffering From Depression
Most people are now aware of the seriousness of depression. This has become much more common and more widely accepted as a serious illness in our society today, than it has been in the past. As a matter of fact, sixteen percent of our population here in America has been diagnosed with depression. Of that sixteen percent, ten percent are women, almost twice as many as men. Most people aren't aware that many people start having feelings of depression during their childhood years. As a matter of fact, most parents are not even aware that their child may have a problem until it's too late.
The child may actually believe that they're "normal" and don't want to be percieved as a "crybaby" or a "whiner". They may also feel as if they're putting a burden on their parents. This is common when the parents are extremely strict or not supportive. The result can be potentially tragic for your child. Make certain to always keep an open door policy with your kids and really listen when they're trying to talk to you. If you won't let them tell you what is going on in their life then they'll end up crying out for help in other ways.
Here are six things that you can look out for in your childs behavior that could be signs or symptoms of depression.
#1. Normal tasks become difficult - This could be a number of different things. Their grades start slipping at school, getting fired from a job that they may be working part time, not doing a good job when doing their household chores, not getting their homework turned in on time, ect.
#2. They begin to isolate themselves - Your child begins to spend more and more time by themselves. They tend to spend every waking hour in their room or their "private" place. The private place could be a treehouse, clubhouse, fort, ect. They don't have any interest in taking part in family activities and make it very clear that they just want to be left alone.
#3. Nothing is fun anymore - You notice that they no longer participate in activities that they used to enjoy. They may have been involved in organized sports and suddenly quit without an explanation, or perhaps they used to enjoy playing an instrument, but suddenly stopped. Maybe they used to be more involved in church or healthy after school activities, but when you ask them what the problem is they say something like "I just didn't want to do it anymore" or "it just isn't fun anymore." At this point, you need to begin asking them questions about how they feel.
#4. Change in sleep habits - They may have always been up and ready for school before, but now getting them up is like pulling teeth. The same child that used to wake up on their own, to their own alarm clock, now must be told 2-3 times to get out of bed and get ready for school. Also, they may be obviously lacking energy and enthusiasm. You may know for a fact that they're getting the same amount of sleep that they've always gotten in the past, but now you see an obvious change.
#5. Obviously sad and don't know why - This is pretty self explanatory. If your son or daughter begins crying or is visibly sad and they don't know why, then it's time to call your doctor right away. Do NOT procrastinate or blow this off as something that will heal itself on its own. Depression is a potentially serious medical condition and certain forms of this disorder, such as Bipolar Disorder, also know as "Manic Depression", are potentially dangerous. People suffering from Bipolar disorder have been known to commit suicide. Self mutilation is another trait of individuals suffering from Bipolar Disorder, so don't wait until "tomorrow". Get your kid into the doctor right away!
#6. Alcohol or Drug use - This goes without saying. Every one of the symptoms above could also be a possible sign of alcohol and/or drug use. There are serious consequences for alcohol and drug use in young people that will affect them, not only now, but also later in life if swift action is not taken to put a stop to this. Also, if your child is already suffering from depression and have chosen to use drugs or alcohol (or both) as a temporary relief, then this is a potentially dangerous situation. They're putting a known "depressant", alcohol, into a person that is already depressed. Many people aren't aware that 40% of adult alcoholics suffer from depression and use drinking as an "escape."
Bottom line - Keep a close eye on your children. Talk to them often, be involved in their life as much as possible and make absolutely certain that they know that your door is open for them anytime, day or night if they need to talk.
About the Author: Joe Stewart is a disabled veteran that writes articles on different topics that interest him or affect him. You can read several more articles on depression by going to http://www.articlesaboutdepression.org/ or by simply clicking on self help for anxiety and depression