What should you do if you think your teen is depressed?
Having bad days occasionally is normal for teens, but what if your teen seems down in the dumps for a few weeks, or even a few months? When should you start to worry and what should you do if you suspect your teen is depressed?
How about PREVENTION???
Start communicating with your children while they're YOUNG... being open and frank with them... not making them feel like you think they're idiots or inferior, even when they DO do something stupid. They're kids... Stupid happens. It's when they get to be teens, go through the retarded teen drama, feel like they have no friends... and then when they don't even feel like they can talk to YOU, you have a PROBLEM on your hands!! TALK to your children!! Be REAL with them! Be open and present, and not critical. You don't have to be their friend; but, sometimes, you're going to be all the 'friend' they've GOT!
Set up an appointment with a psychologist. There maybe more going on than you think. I thought my 11 year old daughter was just going through a phase, until she swallowed a handful of pills and had to be hospitalized. She was finally diagnosed with manic depressive bipolar disorder. I wished I would have sought help earlier. Don't ignore it! Even if it's not depression it might help them to talk to someone else about how hard it is growing up nowadays.
Definitely seek professional help, even if you just start with the pediatrician. I would make an appt if it has been constant for just a few weeks. Even if it turns out to be teenage drama, you don't want to risk it that it could be something more serious.
My daughter is now 18. At 12 she was cutting herself. I took her to a psycologist, which automatically she called her phychiatrist friend. They diagnosed her with manic depressive bipolar disorder, put her on 12 pills. I wish I would have taken it a different route. I don't know what route. But now she is addicted to pills. I believe alot of kids these days have more "drama" in their lives and play on that. I thought I was doing the right thing, now it makes me wonder if that was the right thing after all. I believe there really are problems in some of the kids, but I also believe that the "Dr.'s" jump to conclusions really fast. The psychiatrist she sees now just shakes his head about the first Dr she saw. She is now on 3 pills plus a sleeping pill. One of the sleeping pills they gave her made her hillusinate.
Get that child to a Doctor. My daughter's boyfriend was depressed all through high school, had threatened suicide, but wasn't on any type of antidepressants. She broke up with him after finding out he had cheated on her. Four days later he shot himself in the head while they were on the phone together. That was almost two years ago. She hasn't been the same since.....
First, talk to her first. It may be something going on at school or with a friend that is getting her down. If it is more than you can handle, do not hesitate to take her to her doctor for some options (getting a referral to a counselor, meds, whatever you 3 agree on)
Second, do not force her to talk. When someone is depressed, sometimes the last thing they want to do is talk. Maybe set aside a bit of time each day to talk. About anything and everything.
Third, do not judge. She may be hiding something as simple as "I feel unpretty" (I say simple because of the complicated) to something as complicated as "Mom, I'm gay and I am afraid of what you and others will say".
Fourth, be patient and be there. No matter how hard it is for you to listen to what she has to say, no matter how much you want to scream, yell, throw things, grab her and hug her, let her finish. Hug when needed and not from your pain, but hers. Don't be selfish. Be there for her and ask her what she wants or needs. Let her vent if that is what she needs. It may not be at you but at something she can't control.
I hope this helps, good luck!!
Hi all you mom's out there! I'm a student doing research about how Mom's buy fast food for their children and trying to make improvements in the industry. If you guys have a minute to spare to take my survey (and perhaps pass it along to your friends :) ) that would be awesome! Thanks so much!
First of all, is your teen withdrawing from activities they once enjoyed? I would NOT let it go for months as this can be very damaging to your teen. Consult a psychiatrist immediately and explain the situation. If your teen is truly depressed, he/she truly needs professional help. Make an appointment and get your teen some help as soon as possible. If you let it go for too long, there could be disasterous results, and no one wants that. Encourage your teen in the mean time to attend to activities that they once enjoyed or encourage physical activity to get those endorphins flowing again. Please take this very seriously. SSSee someone ASAP.
Great advice has been shared. I would add that it is important to stay close to your child, be emotionally supportive but not clinging. Try to stay upbeat but inquire about their day and be prepared to listen, acknowledge the hard things they are dealing with but share the positives that you see around them. I have found that when my children are dealing with depression, (I have a young adult son that is on medication, a daughter that dealt with a rough patch without medication) it takes hours of talk to help them through some days. I let them choose the time to talk, I just have to be willing to set aside whatever else is going on and take them to a private place to listen. Some weeks it is several times, others none at all. They just know if they need me I will be there to listen, as well as their father when they need him. Be prepared to hear hard things, don't show shock if you can help it, some scary things come out of some of the talks. I often turn it back to them to find an answer to their issues. I ask, how can I help you deal with this issue. I then support them in any moral, ethical and legal avenue of dealing with the issue. When they want to see a doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist we find one together. Most times after giving them the time they need they are able to deal with things better for a bit. They need a safety net that gives them the security to know they have an advocate, that they are loved, needed and important.
The teen years are the time when several types of mental illness commonly start to appear. Depression and suicide are very real risks for teens in all demographics, but especially for Native American youth. Bipolar disorder (manic -depression) and schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder also tend to first manifest in the teen years. If there is a history of depression or mental illness in the family, a teen's risk for developing a mental illness just increases. Get your child to a school counselor, a pediatrician, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist if you suspect anything beyond normal teenage angst. Excellent medications now exist to address many chemical disorders in the brain. You could be sparing your child and yourself a lot of needless suffering by trying to address any problems early.
I was diagnosed with a mental illness in my late 40's. Medication has been successful for me and completely prevents me from having relapses. I keep a close eye on my teen and have talked with her about what symptoms to watch for and the fact that help is available at any time that she feels she may need it. We work to keep the lines of communication open. She knows she can come to us, her parents, or to school counselors (who we have informed of her risk) at any time. She also has cousins with diagnoses, so we, as a family, are very alert and pro-active in the area of mental health.