Dealing With Adolescent Pressures
When teens feel down, there are ways they can cope with these feelings to avoid serious depression. All of these suggestions help develop a sense of acceptance and belonging that is so important to adolescents.
- Try to make new friends. Healthy relationships with peers are central to teens self-esteem and provide an important social outlet.
- Participate in sports, job, school activities or hobbies. Staying busy helps teens focus on positive activities rather than negative feelings or behaviors.
- Join organizations that offer programs for young people. Special programs geared to the needs of adolescents help develop additional interests.
- Ask a trusted adult for help. When problems are too much to handle alone, teens should not be afraid to ask for help.
But sometimes, despite everyones best efforts, teens become depressed. Many factors can contribute to depression. Studies show that some depressed people have too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Also, a family history of depression may increase the risk for developing depression. Other factors that can contribute to depression are difficult life events , side-effects from some medications and negative thought patterns.
The Importance Of Accepting And Sharing Your Feelings
It can be hard to open up about how youre feelingespecially when youre feeling depressed, ashamed, or worthless. Its important to remember that many people struggle with feelings like these at one time or anotherit doesnt mean that youre weak, fundamentally flawed, or no good. Accepting your feelings and opening up about them with someone you trust will help you feel less alone.
Even though it may not feel like it at the moment, people do love and care about you. If you can muster the courage to talk about your depression, it canand willbe resolved. Some people think that talking about sad feelings will make them worse, but the opposite is almost always true. It is very helpful to share your worries with someone who will listen and care about what you say. They dont need to be able to fix you they just need to be good listeners.
Dealing With Anxiety The How
Here are some ways to manage anxiety by strengthening the structure and function of your brain in ways that protect it against anxiety. Remember though, the brain is like any other muscle in your body it will get stronger with practice. I wish I could tell you that it would get stronger with pizza and tacos but that would be a dirty big lie and very unhelpful. Delicious maybe, but unhelpful. What isnt a lie is that the following strategies have been proven by tons of very high-brow research to be very powerful in helping to reduce anxiety.
Mindfulness. But first to show you why.
A mountain of studies have shown that mindfulness can be a little bit magic in strengthening the brain against anxiety. In a massive analysis of a number of different mindfulness/anxiety studies, mindfulness was found to be associated with robust and substantial reductions in symptoms of anxiety.
Mindfulness changes the brain the way exercise changes our body but without the sweating and panting. Two of the ways mindfulness changes the brain are:
Okay then. What else can mindfulness do?
Plenty. Mindfulness can improve concentration, academic performance, the ability to focus, and it can help with stress and depression. It also increases gray matter, which is the part of the brain that contains the neurons. Neurons are brain cells, so we want plenty of them and plenty of gray matter for them to hang out in.
So mindfulness hey? What is it exactly?
Is there an app for that?
How Do I Get Help For Depression
Youre not alone, and help is available. You can feel better. To get help:
- Talk to a trusted adult about how youve been feeling.
- Ask your doctor about options for professional help. Depression can be treated with psychotherapy , medication, or a combination of medication and talk therapy.
- Try to spend time with friends or family, even if you dont feel like you want to.
- Stay active and exercise, even if its just going for a walk. Physical activity releases chemicals, such as endorphins, in your brain that can help you feel better.
- Try to keep a regular sleep schedule.
- Eat healthy foods.
For immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK .
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICESNational Institutes of HealthNIMH Identification No. OM 21-4321
Addressing Common Teen Depression Triggers
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Talk To Your Teenager
With mental health disorders on the rise in teenagers, it is important to have conversations surrounding these topics. They can be difficult and awkward but are worth it.
If you dont know where to begin look to pop culture.
One particularly hot topic that has had both teenagers and parents alike talking is the show Thirteen Reasons Why.
If you havent heard of it, it is a show on Netflix.
The show is centered on the character, Hannah, a female high school student who is a victim of bullying and ultimately takes her own life. An act in which the show clearly portrays in one scene.
Many have criticized the show for glamorizing suicide. Whether you agree or not, the show certainly had people talking about mental health.
The conversation often needs a starting point, and if nothing else, this show is one.
It is important to educate the entire family on mental health.
If one family member is experiencing mental illness it inadvertently affects the whole family.
Learning the ways in which this does shows support and aids in communicating with other family members through open dialogue.
Tip : Try Not To Isolate Yourselfit Makes Depression Worse
Depression causes many of us to withdraw into our shells. You may not feel like seeing anybody or doing anything and some days just getting out of bed in the morning can be difficult. But isolating yourself only makes depression worse. So even if its the last thing you want to do, try to force yourself to stay social. As you get out into the world and connect with others, youll likely find yourself starting to feel better.
Spend time face-to-face with friends who make you feel goodespecially those who are active, upbeat, and understanding. Avoid hanging out with those who abuse drugs or alcohol, get you into trouble, or make you feel judged or insecure.
Get involved in activities you enjoy . Getting involved in extracurricular activities seem like a daunting prospect when youre depressed, but youll feel better if you do. Choose something youve enjoyed in the past, whether it be a sport, an art, dance or music class, or an after-school club. You might not feel motivated at first, but as you start to participate again, your mood and enthusiasm will begin to lift.
Volunteer. Doing things for others is a powerful antidepressant and happiness booster. Volunteering for a cause you believe in can help you feel reconnected to others and the world, and give you the satisfaction of knowing youre making a difference.
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Look For The Positive And Praise Your Teen Generously
If your teen is depressed, they will welcome praise when its offered. Depression often comes with feeling guilty, ashamed, sad, lonely, anxious, and confused. When you give your teen praise, you highlight a detail in their life and you help them shine a bit more. You also let your teen know that youre noticing, that you care, and that you love them. Teens who are depressed need you to highlight the positive because they are so frequently focused on the negative.
Help Them Find Structure
Putting structure into their day will go a long way toward helping your teen to feel better about themself. The less time they spend sitting around playing on their phone, the better. Encourage your teen to have a weekly planner. The first two things that they can plot on their planner are their weekly session with their therapist and their exercise sessions.
Help your teen come up with other constructive activities to fill up their day. The more tasks that they complete, the greater the feeling of accomplishment they will experience.
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What Is Depression In Teens
Teen depression is a serious medical illness. It’s more than just a feeling of being sad or “blue” for a few days. It is an intense feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and anger or frustration that lasts much longer. These feelings make it hard for you to function normally and do your usual activities. You may also have trouble focusing and have no motivation or energy. Depression can make you feel like it is hard to enjoy life or even get through the day.
Facing The Danger Of Teen Suicide
Sometimes teens feel so depressed that they consider ending their lives. Each year, almost 5,000 young people, ages 15 to 24, kill themselves. The rate of suicide for this age group has nearly tripled since 1960, making it the third leading cause of death in adolescents and the second leading cause of death among college-age youth.
Studies show that suicide attempts among young people may be based on long-standing problems triggered by a specific event. Suicidal adolescents may view a temporary situation as a permanent condition. Feelings of anger and resentment combined with exaggerated guilt can lead to impulsive, self-destructive acts.
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Sympathise And Dont Try To Talk Them Out Of Being Sad
It is hard to see teens feeling sad. We feel upset to see them suffering. And because they often act irritably when they are feeling sad, we get frustrated. For both of these reasons, we often try to jolly them out of feeling bad or minimise their sadness. We say things like you’ll be okay or dont be upset, it’s not that bad or similar.
Unfortunately while meant well, these kind of statements can make teens feel worse. It can suggest to the teen that it’s not okay that they are upset, which makes teens feel like no-one understands or cares.
Instead, we should be frequently saying things like, Im so sorry you are feeling so disappointed, I know you are feeling hopeless, and Im sorry it feels sad right now, I dont know exactly how to help you but I care a lot about you feeling so sad. And skip the but.heres the lesson comments at the end. At least for now.
Giving Your Teen Support During Therapy
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How To Help A Depressed Teenager
Depression is very damaging when left untreated, so dont wait and hope that worrisome symptoms will go away. If you suspect that your teen is depressed, bring up your concerns in a loving, non-judgmental way. Even if youre unsure that depression is the issue, the troublesome behaviors and emotions youre seeing are signs of a problem that should be addressed.
Open up a dialogue by letting your teen know what specific depression symptoms youve noticed and why they worry you. Then ask your child to share what theyre going throughand be ready and willing to truly listen. Hold back from asking a lot of questions , but make it clear that youre ready and willing to provide whatever support they need.
Teen Depression Ages 13
What is Teen Depression?
- loss of interest in activities, apathy
- reduced pleasure in daily activities
- inability to enjoy activities which used to be sources of pleasure
- change in appetite, usually a loss of appetite but sometimes an increase
- change in weight
- persistent difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- excessive daytime sleepiness
- feelings of worthlessness, sadness, or self-hatred
- excessive or inappropriate feelings of guilt
- acting-out behavior
- thoughts about suicide or obsessive fears or worries about death
- plans to commit suicide or actual suicide attempt
- excessively irresponsible behavior pattern
If these symptoms persist for at least two weeks and cause significant distress or difficulty functioning, treatment should be sought.
Teenage suicide is associated with depression as well as many other factors. Depression frequently interferes with school performance and interpersonal relationships. Teens with depression often have other psychiatric problems, such as anxiety disorders. Depression is also commonly associated with violence and reckless behavior. Drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse frequently coexist with depression. Adolescents with additional psychiatric problems usually require longer and more intensive treatment.
- withdrawal, with urge to be alone, isolation
- giving most cherished possessions to others
NEVER IGNORE A SUICIDE THREAT OR ATTEMPT!
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Talking To Someone About Depression
It may seem like theres no way your parents will be able to help, especially if they are always nagging you or getting angry about your behavior. The truth is, parents hate to see their kids hurting. They may feel frustrated because they dont understand what is going on with you or know how to help.
- If your parents are abusive in any way, or if they have problems of their own that makes it difficult for them to take care of you, find another adult you trust . This person can either help you approach your parents, or direct you toward the support you need.
- If you truly dont have anyone you can talk to, there are many hotlines, services, and support groups that can help.
- No matter what, talk to someone, especially if you are having any thoughts of harming yourself or others. Asking for help is the bravest thing you can do, and the first step on your way to feeling better.
Have Your Teen Assessed By A Mental Health Professional
If you suspect depression in your teen, its a good idea to have them seen by a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Most parents dont know enough about the mental health condition to know what to do if they suspect their teen might be depressed. For this reason, its best to have your teen assessed by a mental health professional so that you can learn about how to prevent depression as well as how to help your teen overcome depression. Here are some additional reasons for having your teen see a mental health professional:
There is no typical picture of depression. Not all depressed teens look alike. You may notice classic symptoms in your teen, such as those listed above. Or, you might see unique symptoms of depression in your teen. For instance, your teen might refuse to shower or use substances to feel better.
Depression is a progressive illness. Depression that is not treated can get worse over time. In fact, many suicides are the result of untreated depression. When teens are not given medication to stabilize their mood, tools to manage their thinking, and support, all of which come with treatment, their depression might get worse.
Depression is treatable. With treatment, a teens mood can stabilize and over time they can return to a healthy level of functioning.
Going to a mental health professional will also be an educational experience. You and your teen might learn more about depression, how to prevent it, and what you can do to manage the illness.
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