It’s not always easy to understand the difference between adolescent moodiness and a more serious struggle with depression. In fact, one in every 33 children can show signs of depression and in teens, that number is as high as one in eight.
If you’ve noticed a depressive state for weeks, months or even longer it might be time for an open and honest conversation with your child about depression. From there, you can decide if you’d like to explore options for teen depression treatment—like wilderness therapy.
Depression is a disorder than often runs in families or is triggered by a traumatic event such as a divorce or moving homes. There are signs to look for that can help you catch, diagnose and treat problems early.
1. Feeling Hopeless
Perhaps one of the biggest signs of depression is when a teen describes himself or herself as feeling hopeless. While this could be a passing mood and requires a clinical evaluation for proper diagnosis, it definitely warrants a bigger conversation with your adolescent—especially if this feeling persists for longer than two weeks.
2. Alcohol and Drug Use
Another sign of depression can be use of alcohol and drugs. While substance can temporarily alleviate the feelings of depression, it often will make things worse in the long run with sustained abuse. And teens who have dealt with depression are actually twice as likely to drink alcohol.
3. Changes in Sleep Patterns, Fatigue and Lack of Energy
Has your teen lost interest in activities? Or perhaps the smallest tasks seem too much for them to handle because they’re too tired? A key sign your child may be struggling with depression is sudden insomnia and significant trouble sleeping that doesn’t go away.
Depressed teens may start to withdraw from activities and interactions they usually enjoy. The instinct to withdraw can be caused by other symptoms of depression such as low self-esteem or fatigue. If your teen suddenly doesn’t want to engage in activities he or she used to enjoy, this may be a sign of depression.
5. Problems at School
All of the above-mentioned signs can lead to problems at school. They might manifest as slipping grades, struggling to complete assignments and understand material, trouble focusing in class and withdraw from participating in school activities. If you begin to notice serious issues at school, such as physical fighting or vandalism, look for options for teen depression treatment immediately.
If Your Teen Needs Help
Perhaps the best first step you can take is to open the lines of communication and let your adolescent know that you’re there for them—no matter what. And if you need to, seek professional help. There are many options for teen depression treatment available, and depression can be treated in more than 80 percent of people.
At Pacific Quest, our approach to helping students is centered on wilderness therapy—combining the calming effect of natural surroundings with the support of individualized therapy. Learning about whole-person wellness in a peaceful environment with a supportive peer culture gives our students daily opportunities to expand their awareness and focus on their personal development.
Learn more about our world-renowned program and download our free guide to learn more about the signs that might indicate your child needs help.