Depression, in teenagers

Other names: Teen depression

DEFINITION

Teen depression is a serious medical problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how teenagers think, feel, and behave, leading to emotional, functional, and physical problems.

SYMPTOMS

Emotional changes include feelings of sadness, irritability, loss of interest in activities, and thoughts of death or suicide. Behavioral changes may manifest as tiredness, changes in appetite, use of alcohol or drugs, self-harm, and poor school performance.

CAUSES

Factors such as biological chemistry, hormones, inherited traits, early childhood trauma, and learned patterns of negative thinking can contribute to teen depression.

RISK FACTORS

Issues impacting self-esteem, history of violence or abuse, other conditions like anxiety disorders or chronic illnesses, certain personality traits, family history of mental health issues or suicide, and recent stressful life events increase the risk of teen depression.

Complications:

Untreated depression can lead to low self-esteem, substance abuse, academic problems, family conflicts, social isolation, involvement with the juvenile justice system, and even suicide.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Before seeing a doctor for teen depression symptoms, list down any symptoms your teen has experienced, personal information including recent stresses or life changes, medications being taken, and questions for the doctor about diagnosis and treatment options.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Doctors may conduct physical exams, lab tests to rule out other conditions like thyroid issues, and psychological evaluations based on criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment options include medications like Fluoxetine or Escitalopram under close monitoring due to possible side effects. Psychotherapy is also effective in helping teens manage depression symptoms.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies:

Encouraging stress management techniques, boosting self-esteem, seeking social support, early treatment initiation when signs appear can help prevent worsening depression symptoms.

COPING AND SUPPORT

Providing understanding and support to teens facing depression by encouraging healthy friendships, staying active in positive activities like sports or hobbies, seeking help when needed from trusted adults or professionals.

QUESTIONS

  1. What are some emotional changes seen in teenagers with depression?

Feelings of sadness

Irritability

Loss of interest in activities

Thoughts of death or suicide

  1. What behavioral changes might indicate teen depression?

Tiredness

Changes in appetite

Use of alcohol or drugs

Self-harm behaviors

  1. When should you seek help if you suspect your teenager is depressed?

As soon as possible; symptoms may worsen if left untreated

  1. What are some risk factors for developing teen depression?

Family history of mental health issues

History of violence or abuse

Chronic medical illnesses

  1. What complications can arise from untreated teen depression?

Low self-esteem

Substance abuse

Academic problems

Suicide risk

  1. How can lifestyle changes help manage teen depression?

Stress control

Boosting self-esteem

Seeking social support

  1. What are some key points to discuss with a doctor during an appointment about teen depression?

Symptoms experienced by the teenager

Family history of mental health issues

Questions about treatment options

  1. Which medications are approved for treating teen depression?

Fluoxetine (Prozac)

Escitalopram (Lexapro)

  1. Why is it important to closely monitor teenagers taking antidepressants?

Due to potential side effects like increased suicidal thoughts especially at the start of treatment

  1. Apart from medication, what other treatment options are effective for managing teen depression?

Psychotherapy such as talk therapy