Teenagers are typically known for their mood swings. From raging hormones to heartbreaking relationships, parents tend to shrug off youthful ups and downs as normal. The 18-year old son of Marie Osmond, however; recently took his own life as a result of battling depression. This shocking news has awakened adults to the seriousness of recurring symptoms.
When a teen experiences a consistent attitude of sadness for more than two weeks, he could be suffering from depression. Young people generally overcome normal adolescent circumstances within a few days. If persistent unhappiness dominates a child, evaluate their overall perspective.
Symptoms of depression
The most common characteristic of depression is a feeling of hopelessness. These feelings can be accompanied by a change in appetite. Sleeplessness, rebellious behavior or physical aches & pains intensify a downward spiral. Grades may start to drop, and teens tend to withdraw from their family and friends. They may turn to alcohol, drugs or other risky indulgences as a subconscious form of self-destruction.
Your personal physician may refer you to a colleague who is qualified to treat depression. There are some excellent options available in the Memphis area. The following three facilities offer expertise in emotional disorders.
UT Medical Group Psychiatry @ (901) 448-2400
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital @ (901) 495-3300
Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center @ (901) 287-KIDS
Parents are the key
Parents will be the first to notice patterns of sadness in their teenager. Their first response is to talk with them about the reasons they feel despondent. Support and encouragement can lift the spirits of kids who don’t feel they fit in, can’t find their niche or sense inferiority among their peers. Unconditional acceptance at home is a safety net for teens who have trouble making friends. Kids must know that confiding in their parents will not result in criticism, mockery or dismissal.
Above all, parents should have the courage to seek treatment for their teens when they don’t see them progressing. Wise counsel and proper treatment could save their life.