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05-10 Mental Health Awareness Month: Identifying key indicators of teen depression can help in timely treatment

Mental Health Awareness Month: Identifying key indicators of teen depression can help in timely treatment

Mental disorders can strike anyone during any stage of life, including teenagers. Teen depression is a reality, though most people may mask it as unwarranted anger and moody behavior. To educate people about the reasons that may raise the risk of mental illnesses among teens and the necessity to seek timely treatment, every year “Mental Health Awareness Month” is observed in May.

Depression has become a big concern among teenagers. This is evident from a report published in the journal Pediatrics in November 2016 which said that adolescent depression jumped from 8.7 percent in 2005 to 11.5 percent in 2014. The respondent teenagers showed symptoms like loss of self-esteem, lack of interest in normally enjoyable activities, difficulty in concentrating and insomnia, among others. Wide prevalence of depression among American teenagers has made it imperative to understand the signs that can help in identify the mental problem before it worsens and causes other complications.

A recent study, unveiled and shared at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco, suggested how teenagers are more likely to use words like “stressed” or “down” among others when they suffer from depression. These words sound like ordinary rantings by teenagers while feeling distressed but they could signal the onset of grievous symptoms of pre-depressive phase. The abstract titled, “Understanding teen expression of sadness in primary care: A qualitative exploration,” shared details of findings of a detailed research carried out on teenagers aged 13-18 years.

The researchers assessed a sample of interviews provided by the respondents who were at risk of depression and had taken part in the Promoting Adolescent Health Study (PATH). This study was conducted under controlled conditions. The respondents who reported of irritability and hopelessness during the past two weeks responded to two brief screening questions asked during the PATH study.

Elucidating on the observations made, one of the co-authors of the study Dr. Daniela DeFrino, an assistant professor of research at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and College of Nursing, said, “Much of what a teen is feeling and experiencing is easy to attribute to the ups and downs of teen angst. Teens rarely stated they were depressed, but described bursts of feeling stressed and sad that often came and went. But, sometimes, there is so much more under the surface that can lead to depression.”

The participants frequently said that they got mad at people very easily and did not understand why they were upset. Other symptoms included heightened anger and tendency to feel irritated, lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed and changes in sleep patterns.

Potential reasons for teen depression

As teenagers mostly visit primary health care centers to get rid of their physiological ailments, it would be of great advantage if the clinicians are trained about basic symptoms of depression so that they may guide their patients about the potential emotional disorders they may be facing, while urging them to seek necessary treatment.

Teen depression is a critical issue that parents or caregivers tend to neglect due to lack of awareness. It is necessary that teenagers are regularly screened for any potential symptoms of the depressive disorder before the problems turn into any kind of untreatable psychological illness.

Defeat depression

Parents must advise their teenagers that even if things go wrong, life goes on. Teenagers tend to get anxious about certain issues that they might find difficult to share. It is important for guardians and caregivers to be able to gain their wards’ trust so that they may come out in the open and share what is going on in their minds. Bottled up emotions only increase frustration and stress, thus, it is important that teens suffering from depression either seek necessary help from their parents or look for expert advice.

At Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego, the Mental Health Program offers help in treating teenage depression. Health care practitioners customize the treatment options keeping in mind the specific needs of every patient by making use of therapy for teenage depression. They also educate them about various coping mechanisms and stress management methods. Call at our 24/7 helpline number or chat online for more information about our treatment for depression in teens.

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