Teen Depression: Most Recover but almost half have a recurrance

Teen depression is a serious concern that can lead to tragic results if not treated.  According to a new study from Duke/John Hopkins University, nearly half of teens who suffer a severe episode are back in depression within a few years of their initial recovery.  Also noted in this new study finds that depression affects an estimated 6 percent of U.S. teen girls and nearly as many teen boys.

Nearly all (96 percent) of the 196 teenagers in the study either improved or fully recovered after an initial depressive episode, but 47 percent had one or more subsequent depressive episodes in an average of two years.

As the holidays approach, it is a time that suicides among adults and teens will increase.
It is critical to be aware of your teenagers feelings and activities. 

For reasons that are not clearly understood, girls were more likely to have repeated bouts of depression, with nearly 60 percent of them suffering subsequent depressive episodes after recovery, compared to 33 percent of the boys.

Some common warning signs of teen depression:
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits (eating and sleeping too much or too little)
  • Significant change in weight (loss or gain)
  • Often misses school and/or shows bad school performance
  • Reclusive, withdrawing from friends or family members
  • Quick to show anger/rage
  • General restlessness or anxiety
  • Overreacts to criticism, even constructive
  • Seems very self conscious, guilty
  • Unusual problems with authority
  • No longer partakes in or enjoys activities and events they once loved
  • Indecision, lack of concentration, or forgetfulness
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Frequent health complaints despite being healthy
  • Lack of motivation and enthusiasm for every day life
  • Drug/alcohol abuse
  • Mentions or thoughts of suicide
Some common causes of teen depression:
  • Significant life events like the death of a family member or close friend, parents divorce or split, breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or moving to a new school/area.
  • Emotional/Physical neglect, being separated from a nurturer, abuse, damage to self esteem.
  • Many changes happening too quickly can cause depression. For some teens, any major change at one time can trigger symptoms.
  • Stress, especially in cases where the teen has little or no emotional support from parents, other family members, or friends.
  • Past traumatic events or experiences like sexual abuse, general abuse, or other major experiences often harbor deep within a child and emerge in the teen years. Most children are unable to process these types of events when they happen, but of course, they remember them. As they age, the events/experiences become clearer and they gain new understanding.
  • Changes associated with puberty often cause emotions labeled as depression.
  • Abuse of drugs or other substances can cause changes in the brainÕs chemistry, in many cases, causing some types of depression.
  • Some medical conditions such as hypothyroidism are believed to affect hormone and mood balance. Physical pain that is chronic can also trigger depression. In many cases, depression caused by medical conditions disappears when medical attention is sought and treatment occurs.
  • Depression is a genetic disorder, and teens with family members who have suffered from depression have a higher chance of developing it themselves.
If you suspect your teen is suffering with saddness and depression, reach out and get help.  Don't ignore the signs or just brush it off as typical teenage phase, which it could be, but your teens safety and health come first.

Broward Prevention offers a vast amount of resources to assist you further.  If your teens has escalated to a point that their life or your family is at-risk, you may need to consider residential therapy.  Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

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