Your Teen’s Mental Health: Shaking the Stigma of Seeking Help
The twenty-first century has seen a cultural shift in how people think about mental health. Slowly, education about depression and anxiety disorders has spread to the mainstream and is now more commonly seen as something that can and should be addressed. There are several approaches to working with someone who suffers from depression or anxiety. Particularly in teens, this can be complicated due to the fact that teenagers are already undergoing hormonal changes that can often be perceived as no more than that. And yet, there are teenagers and young people who suffer from chemical imbalances that can be mitigated with appropriate treatment. Exploring options to help anybody dealing with these mental health issues is key to preventing the worsening of the condition and even understanding what options exist.
The Difference Between Hormonal Changes and Depression
For some teenagers, those years of hormonal changes come and go with little turmoil. Other than the occasional acne breakout and normal mood swings, they seem to cope fine with the changes happening in their bodies and minds. For others, this time is accompanied by changes that set something off and cause profound changes that leave parents dumbfounded as to what occurred.
This article does not take the place of medical advice but there is some general advice that might be helpful for parents wondering about their teenager’s behavior. Some teenagers will undergo what can be referred to as “development depression.” And these are symptoms that are similar to what might seem like abnormal behavior but is merely part of your teen entering a new, developmental stage in their life. These symptoms can be relatively mild and take the form of mood instability, occasional sadness, social anxiety, occasional fatigue, and others.
Taking Serious Conditions Seriously
When a teen suffers from more serious conditions that have prolonged and more frequent symptoms it might be time to wonder whether there is something that you can do to help the situation. These often result in more serious emotional instabilities and increased levels of emotional distress often triggered by particular circumstances or traumatic events.
Unlike typical developmental depression, these symptoms are far more pronounced and they can manifest with some of the following signs:
- Prolonged melancholia and sadness that persists and is present a majority of the time.
- Panic attacks or moments of complete panic that are triggered by small events and cause severe emotional distress, nervousness, or instability.
- Trouble sleeping, too much sleeping, and/or persistent fatigue and lack of energy.
- Thoughts of suicide or hurting oneself or others.
Trouble Signs To Look For
Rule #1 for teenagers is to keep communication open and allow them space, while always being present and there to lend support. Teenagers often have a hard time articulating the way they are feeling but knowing they can trust you will increase the chances that they will come to you with problems and questions or when things begin to look dim. Two major signs that your teen might require some professional help include:
- Persistent suicidal thoughts and/or attempts
- Substance abuse, drinking, or self-medication with illicit drugs
Find Someone You Can Trust
Here at SWAPN, we have professional physicians and psychiatrists who specialize in mental health issues and even pediatric psychiatry for younger patients. The tide does seem to be turning on mental health and people are becoming less afraid to seek help and ask questions. Treatments for depression and anxiety disorders can vary but taking the first step is key. If you are worried about your teen, your young child, or a loved one’s mental health, let us see if we can help.