Major depression is a chronic condition and different than just experiencing the occasional “blues”. If your adolescent has major depression, it consistently affects their mood, thoughts and body.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the onset of major depression is occurring much earlier in life than it used to. And the earlier the condition onsets, the higher the probability that it will continue into adulthood.
If your adolescent has major depression, they are unable
to merely “snap out of it” and feel better on their own.
In most cases, treatment is necessary for recovery.
What are the common symptoms of major depression? You may notice several of the following signs in your adolescent during the same two-week period:
- Difficulty with relationships
- Expresses excessive guilt
- Expresses hopelessness
- Is extremely sensitive to failure or rejection
- Is unable to concentrate
- Lacks energy
- Lacks interest in activities once enjoyed
- Persistently suffers sadness
- Seems irritable, hostile or aggressive
- Shares feelings of wanting to die
- Shows changes in appetite or weight
- Shows signs of low self-esteem
- Sleeps too much or very little
- Thinks about suicide or attempts suicide
- Threatens running away from home
What causes major depression?
- Abuse or neglect
- Excessive stress
- Family history of depression
- Loss of a close loved one
- Loss of a relationship
- Other chronic illnesses (diabetes) or psychiatric disorders
- Physical or emotional trauma
What should you do if your think your child has major depression? Contact your pediatrician or family doctor immediately to discuss. Early diagnosis of depression is important because it often coexists with another psychiatric disorder, such as substance abuse or anxiety disorder. If your doctor feels your child needs further assessment, they may recommend evaluation by a licensed behavioral health professional. Major depression can be effectively treated.