What are the signs of depression in teenagers?
If you have a teenager, sometimes it can be difficult to tell if they are just being moody or if they are actually depressed.
Depression in teenagers is on the rise, and I for one can certainly see why. In the past year, they have lost their graduation, their prom, even going to school and seeing their friends on a regular basis. This leads to increased isolation and electronic device use, which only makes their risk for depression worse.
So I know that all teenagers are moody. I have raised seven (yep seven) of them. However, you know what is normal moody for your child. If your child seems excessively moody and irritable, it may be time to ask what’s up.
If your child is sleeping long hours and still feeling tired, you may want to check in and see if he or she is ok. According to John Hopkins Medicine, teenagers need between 9 and 10 hours of sleep per night.
So, if your daughter is sleeping twelve hours a day and still tired all the time, there may be an underlying issue.
** Always check iron levels, etc. to ensure that there isn’t a medical issue as well.
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When your son refuses to spend time with the family and stays in his room all day- no matter what he is doing in his room- it is unhealthy.
Humans- even teen humans- need daily interaction to thrive.
Occasionally needing time to yourself is normal, especially when we have been forced to spend weeks upon weeks with our families- but if the isolation is becoming a habit, or if you think that it is out of character for your kiddo, then it may be time to have a talk.
If your teenager becomes upset over seemingly minor issues, or cries multiple times a week. If she tells you that she doesn’t know why she is crying, then there is a chance that she may need help.
While uncontrollable crying is common for girls with depression, in boys it can manifest more as fits of rage. This isn’t to say that girls cannot rage, (I have seen it in my own home), or that boys can’t cry.
Rage can manifest in yelling, throwing, hitting walls, and even self-harm. Remember that it is NEVER ok for your child to be disrespectful or to hurt another person, even if he or she has a right to be angry.
If your child becomes a danger to you, a family member, or himself then it is time to call the police.
If your teenager doesn’t want to hang out with their best friend or take part in drama club this year, or suddenly quits track- this may be a sign that they are struggling emotionally. High school is really tough on kids in normal situations, but with Covid there is an added level of stress.
Your ultra picky eater is suddenly eating everything in site, or the one that everyone used to joke was always hungry hardly eats anything these days. This can be a sign that there is something more going on than puberty.
If your teen tells you that they can’t get to sleep or that they keep waking up after they fall asleep, it could be a sign of depression.
Even teenagers profit from having a nightly routine. If your teenager doesn’t have one, try setting one up and see if that helps. Bath, quiet time (no devices or TV) (This is a great time to journal or read a book, or do some girly things like painting your nails), and then bed. It may take a couple of weeks to get into the habit, but it will be worth it.
Your honor roll student comes home with C’s and D’s. The girl that couldn’t wait to get to school and learn about Biology is now reluctant and not feeling well most days.
You are getting calls from teachers that she is not turning in her schoolwork, or not working to the best of her ability.
One of the first things to go when a teenager is overwhelmed or depressed is their grades.
If you have gone through the list and checked off more boxes than you are comfortable with, then it is time to talk with your son or daughter.
If you have spoken with your teen and determined that their depression is more than just the blues, there are things that you can do to help.
Find someone outside of your family unit for him/her to talk to. A counselor (school counselor or youth pastor is an economic alternative to professional counseling if money is an issue), teacher, or family friend that your teenager trusts are good options.
Vitamin supplements: Sometimes our vitamin levels are low- especially if we have been spending a lot of time inside. Vitamin D and B12 are good for supporting the immune system and boosting energy and mood. Also, melatonin taken occasionally is good to help your body to get back its natural sleep rhythm.
Exercise is great for depression. You could do Zumba together, kickboxing to release the aggression, or just go for a walk.
Have your son/ daughter journal, draw, paint- anything that get’s the feelings out.
If things get worse, or you feel like the things that you aren’t doing aren’t working, please get professional help. I have listed below a few local sources for you. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out for help. You are not alone and there are so many teenagers that are going through the same things.
Crystal is a local portrait photographer currently residing in the Savannah, Georgia area. She loves Jesus, coffee, and her family- usually in that order. She has seven children ages 15-24 and has loved (almost) every moment of being a mom.
If you need her, she is usually at the beach.
Her love for families includes capturing every moment of motherhood, as well as educating empowering and equipping mothers to have the birth experiences that they deserve.
Her Instagram page capturing savannah is dedicated to the journey of motherhood.
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Copyright 2020 Crystal and Lace Photography
Among all of the beautiful wonderful things that you were created to do, you were created to become a mother.
You were created to bring this little life into this crazy world and love him like no one else can.
I want you to look back at your birth story and see how strong, beautiful and courageous you are