Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Parents: Recognize the Signs of Teen Depression

Depression Affects 1 out of Every 8 American Teens.
Only 20% Get the Help They Need. How Can

Depression affects more than 1 million teens each year. That's one out of every 8 teenagers -- no small amount. Yet only about 20 percent of these teens get the help they need. Moms and dads, it's important to be able to recognize the signs of depression so that you can help your child.

Depression is more than feeling blue, being sad, or being down in the dumps every so often. Depression is a strong mood that lasts for weeks, months, or even longer. Depression often interferes with a person's ability to participate in his or her normal activities.

Signs of Depression in Teens:

-- Depressed mood or sadness most of the time (for what may seem like no reason)

-- Lack of energy, feeling tired all of the time

-- Inability to enjoy things that used to bring pleasure

-- Withdrawal from friends and family

-- Irritability, anger, or anxiety

-- Inability to concentrate

-- Significant weight loss or gain

-- Significant change in sleep patterns (inability to sleep, stay asleep, or get up in the morning)

-- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness

-- Unexplained aches and pains (even though nothing is physically wrong)

-- Pessimism and indifference (not caring about anything in the present or future)

-- Thoughts of death or suicide

If you think your teen may have the signs of depression, don't dismiss them or think they'll go away by themselves. Recognizing whether it's just a passing "phase" or something more serious is crucial to getting help for you or someone you care about.

The most important thing you can do is let your teen know you're there for him or her. Encourage your teen to talk about his or her feelings. Your child needs to understand that these feelings matter and that you truly care.

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