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By LifeLine

Teenage Depression

Teen Depression

Teen depression and anxiety are very real things. We at Lifeline For Youth want to make sure you have some of the facts you need to know about how to help your teen with depression or anxiety.
 
Let's break down some fact and fiction about these conditions and learn how to identify depression in teens and how to help your teen deal with anxiety.

"Depression is just being sad or bummed out"

FALSE!!

Recognizing teen depression isn't only about being sad is the first step to awareness. Teen depression symptoms can often present in many ways such as lack of energy, too much or too little sleep, restlessness, irritability, change in appetite, drop in grades or attendance at school, hostility , frequent bouts of crying or tearfulness, changes in eating habits, hopelessness, and substance abuse. Because so many of these symptoms are present during adolescence, to begin with it may be harder for a parent or loved one to understand the link between these behaviors. At Lifeline For Youth, our skilled professionals have been helping teens for over 27 years and know how to recognize symptoms of teen depression.

"Depression will go away on its own."

FALSE!!

Unlike the normal ups and downs of the teenage mood swings, depression can become a battle that lasts for weeks, months and in worse cases, years. So many factors can contribute to and fuel depression in a time of life that is typified by its own precariousness. Getting help for your teen if you suspect depression is vital to overcoming it. Help is necessary, and ignoring the symptoms won't make it go away.

"Depression can lead to suicide."

TRUE!!

Rates of teen suicide and teen depression are inseparably intertwined. In an article from Healthychildren.org, we learn that suicide is no less than the third most prevalent cause of teen death in America, extending from ages 15 through 24. We also know that studies show 90% of all suicides are among teens who suffer from one or more of: depression, anxiety issues, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, or other behavioral issues.

Check out this article: Report shows Utah youth suicides jumps 141%

"Depression is a mental disorder."

TRUE!!

Calling depression “moodiness” is like calling a landfill “messy”. Because of the complexities of the human brain, we are learning new information on its function every day. By classing depression as a mental disorder, it is differentiated from an illness or sickness in that it is simply out of the norm in terms of normal brain function.

"If you've had depression once, you'll always have it."

FALSE!!

Depression is very treatable and comes with a good success rate with proper professional intervention. While sadly, up to 75% of teens that experience depression will experience it later on in their lives, treatment is available.

Treatment for teen depression includes and depends on a support system that will teach your child how to overcome and prevent thinking that could lead to relapses. At Lifeline for Youth, we have a 97% satisfaction rate with our teens and their families.

"Depressed teens are still social."

TRUE!!

Although teens are more commonly noted for their highly un-social personas, it's actually false. Because parents see a withdrawal and separation from a lot of the authority figures in the child's life, it is assumed that teens adopt a uniformly solitary introverted existence. In reality they are more likely to remain friends with peers they feel comfortable with and simply become more selective in their associations. This is one of the significant differences between adult depression and teen depression.

"Depression is just something adults get."

FALSE!!

Most adults tend to forget the struggles of childhood because they're busy navigating adulthood, and specifically adulthood with teens. National statistics put 3 million teenagers from 12-17 on the map for experiencing a depressive episode in 2015, with a staggering 2 million that experienced a serious depression that affected their daily functionality.

We are sadly mistaken if we think that only adults experience stress levels that lead to struggles with depression or mood disorders.

"Anxiety comes from worrying too much."

FALSE!!

Anxiety is a complex issue and experts warn about putting anxiety into a cause and effect statement. While it includes many triggers, anxiety can often have no apparent trigger at all. Exercising, being dehydrated, and sometimes just thinking about having a panic attack can bring one on.

"Anxiety and Depression are pretty much the same things."

FALSE!!

While the symptoms of anxiety and depression in teens are similar and include many of the same traits, they are separate. People who suffer from depression often have a history of anxiety issues. To say that one causes the other would be inaccurate, but many people including teens often struggle with both.

"Anxiety is made up. It's just in their head."

FALSE!!

Anxiety involves neurotransmitters, hormones, and results in physical problems. Because the brain can be over-sensitized to stimuli that trigger adrenaline, the fight or flight mechanism, and the subsequent bodily reactions are very real. If treating anxiety were easy as responding to triggers with logical thought processes, there would be no need for professional intervention.

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"Anxiety symptoms can include dizziness, chest pains, and diarrhea."

TRUE!!

Because we don't see a psychological disorder the same way we would see and recognize a physical disorder, we tend to diminish its significance in a person's life. This is what makes recognizing teen anxiety difficult because most of the symptoms of teen anxiety are internal. The effects of anxiety may be silent, but they are a very real response to the chemical, emotional, and thought imbalances in your child.

"The only way to deal with depression and enxiety is medication."

FALSE!!

There are many times when medications can be very helpful, and they certainly have their place. Because some medications can offer serious long-term side effects, including triggering and over sensitizing to attacks of anxiety and even addiction later on, a large array of treatment options are considered. Rest assured that LifeLine for Youth will work with you to treat your loved one with the utmost care and respect, including alternatives to medications.

Bottom Line...

If you suspect your teen is struggling with anxiety and/or depression call Lifeline For Youth today. With our caring and committed staff we can help with targeted teenage depression treatment, present relevant teenage anxiety, and depression solutions, and help prevent turning back to old thought and habit patterns. Your loved ones deserve it. Call for your consultation today!

By LifeLine

Connecting with your teen

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Connecting with your teen can be difficult...

...We can help! Look, sometimes connecting with your teen can seem as fun as saying 'thank you' for a root canal, but it is a very important and vital component of their well being, and integral to the fabric of your family life.

 

We all know that bonding with your teenager starts way before they reach adolescence. Ideally it should start when they were new and full of promise and potential, back when it was easy and you were their hero.

 

But here in the present, things are quite different. You might feel like you've been through a rough simulation of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and are now forced to conduct your life around someone whom only faintly resembles that cherub you once swaddled.

 

Before you go file a missing person report, let's summarize the importance of connecting with your teenage son or daughter. Being aware of challenges we face in today's world, and learning to adjust our expectations and form habits that are conducive to good communication are vital. Your offspring will thank you. When they're 25...but still. 

--You might feel like you've been through a rough simulation of Invasion of the Body Snatchers!

Momma's boys and Daddy's girls...

A healthy connection is crucial to your developing child, even into the precarious teen years. Children that have regular interaction with a father are found to have greater success socially, academically, emotionally and run a lower risk of being overweight. These benefits also follow children who are more likely to be at a higher risk for behavioral issues, into the educational forum. They are found to have better reading scores, less behavioral issues, and if the father is active with school volunteering the statistics for A+ grades increases significantly.

 

Being engaged with their father finds teens better in social situations, and boosts their confidence and self-esteem. So dad, set up some one on one time with your son or daughter. Go on a date, play catch, or just get goofy together. You'll find that not only will your relationship become more powerful, but your kids will be more confident and feel better about themselves. Power on Dad!

 

One study showed that boys with a closer relationship with their mothers found a multitude of benefits. Among them was better performance in school accompanied by better articulation, less likelihood of engaging in risky behavior, better self-image, friendships and less inclination towards anxiety and depression.

 

Connecting with your daughter is equally important and can prevent risky and dangerous behaviors by showing her she doesn't need to look outside of the home for affirmations of worth and care.

--Children that have regular interaction with a father are found to have greater success socially, academically, emotionally and run a lower risk of being overweight.

What Does A Good Relationship with My Teenager Look Like?

We all have ideals of what it would be like to live in the “perfect family”. Yeah, you saw those little quotation marks. Obviously, life can greatly differ from what we imagine, and what we really end up with. Gone are the days of Wally and the Beaver and the familial Hollywood utopia. Suddenly you find yourself Googling “staying connected to your teenager” while you're waiting for them to come in after curfew, yet again.

 

Here are a few tips that might help:

Relaxed Openness

If a teen suspects criticism or condemnation there's going to be a shut down faster than a bank on a national holiday. So what do you do? Well, if you feel like you are nagging, you probably are. No one (not even you) feels like producing their best behavior when motives, energy level, and priorities are always called into question to be picked apart like a frog in biology class.

A  no-pressure platform can help build trust that you are still a safe haven and an emotionally secure place to fall back on. Even though they might not use the opportunity to talk as often as you'd like, being able to talk if they feel the need is a great comfort in this jumbled time of sorting through themselves.

Bottom line: let them know you are open to listening.

Physical Touch

Throughout your child's younger years, hugs and kisses and snuggles were a prime source of reassurance when they needed boundaries or attention. Even though it can seem awkward to express affection for the teenager before you, who is now more man or woman than a child, touching and affirming that you're there for them if they need it, is just as important as ever.

Because each child has his or her own personality, the amount and type of touching may be more or less, but should always be noted. Monitoring could be necessary as well for the giver if you are not naturally inclined to touch, or perhaps are more of a giver than the child is comfortable with.

Boys, in particular, are harder hit when it comes to the famine of physical touch. Believing it is childish, they pull away in an effort to define themselves as “manly” or mature. This can also be why a breakup of a first love is harder on young men. Sacrificing physical touch with their parents have created a physical and psychological need – and thus a body or touch-hungry individual.

You don't need to go overboard and smother your child. Anything from a shoulder squeeze to a goodnight kiss, pats on the head or a full-on hug....Just be aware of the physical needs of your teen. If you are there to supply it whenever it's needed and every chance you get, you can dramatically change how you relate to your teen.

Quality (and Quantity!) Time With Your Teen

It's often said that quality is better than quantity. Well we say, make the most of what you have! 

Find natural times to spend time with your son or daughter. You don't have to insert yourself into your teen's life against their wishes or make outrageous demands on their time. Especially if you want great results.

Finding different ways to spend time with your teen may be as easy as taking advantage of the normal activities of everyday life. Some examples could be:

  • Cooking and eating together
  • Chores or volunteering for a shared cause.
  • Go shopping! Let them know the spending limit and make sure it is something they want, not you.
  • Learn something together. Ask them, "What have you always wanted to learn how to do?" or "Is there something you've never done, but would like to?"
  • Letting your teen have you for an unplugged hour or afternoon for whatever they want to do (cue the relaxed openness!)

Spending time with your child can open up a new avenue of shared interest and create meaningful communication with your teen and a connection that they aren't quick to put aside.

Bottom Line:

Bonding with your son or daughter involves a decent amount of communication as well as quality and quantity family time. One-on-one activities teach you and your child about who they are and where they fit into this great chaos we call life.

Though suggestions given here are best seeded when children are young, don't give up hope! They are still applicable to today and all the gnarly situations you find yourself wading through with your ever-changing teenager.

Lifeline For Youth stands behind families and aims to educate and help families heal. For more suggestions and tips give us a call at 1-855-968-8443 today.