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New video aims to help parents spot teen depression

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Depression can be difficult to recognize. For teens, who are experiencing hormonal fluctuations that accompany growth, is can be even harder to spot clinical depression.

That is why the health information website be smart. be well is offering a new video just for parents of teens. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas sponsor the website.

Titled "Teens and Depression: Top Five Signs to Look For," the video features tips and insights from Dr. Ken Duckworth, M.D., medical director for the National Alliance of Mental Illness.

"The difference between normal teen moodiness and clinical depression is very hard for lay people to discern," Duckworth says.

The five top signs to look for are:

  • Sleep disturbance: "Many adolescents sleep until noon on a Saturday, but if you notice a change in their sleep or their sleep is irregular even more than before, that's something to worry about," Duckworth says.
  • Social changes: "Adolescents are typically very focused on social connections," he says. "If they're not interested in their social network and they want to quit sports, pay attention to that."
  • Physical symptoms: Some teens demonstrate their emotional distress through physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach aches, weakness and body aches.
  • Substance abuse: Some depressed teens use drugs and alcohol to change how they're feeling. Abusing drugs and alcohol also increases the risk for depression or worsening depression, leading to a vicious cycle.
  • Safety issues: Any time a teen expresses suicidal thoughts, it should be taken seriously.

Also, he advises parents, pay attention to the duration of these or any other changes. For more information or to see the video, check out the above-mentioned links.

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