How to help your depressed teenager

Learning how to help someone fight depression can be a daunting task, and even more so when the person trying to overcome the condition is your teenager. Nowadays, depression in teenagers is a common occurrence, especially those who don’t “blend in” with others well.

Teen depression is typically caused by a feeling of inadequacy or a feeling of not fitting in with fellow peers. These include being unpopular or outright bullied, family’s perceived low status in society, getting poor grades, and in the case of teenage boys, being non-athletic and weak, or in the case of teenage girls, not having the “right” body type as portrayed by movies and beauty ads. Sexual preferences can also play a significant part in teen depression.

Common signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for include loss of interest in activities, constant feelings of gloom and helplessness, keeping to oneself and eating/sleeping too much or too little. Some teenagers might also turn to drugs or alcohol to overcome their feelings of being constantly depressed, as these are a form of outlet for their frustration or feelings of loneliness.

Trying to figure out how to help someone with depression is not easy, especially if you as the parent or guardian of the teenage sufferer have personally never suffered from severe depression. As a parent or guardian, your support is vital. Do not criticize your teenager for their feelings. Talk to them, and more importantly, listen to them. Help them understand that the awkwardness they are feeling is simply a temporary phase in life.

If you believe that your child is suffering from depression, try to get professional help immediately. Left untreated, the condition may persist into adulthood, leading to a potentially bleak future for the sufferer, or it may even lead to an early suicide. Seeking early treatment is one of the best ways to help someone with depression. Treatments include prescription medication as well as counselling. Attending some of the counselling sessions together with your teenager will show them that you care, and aid them in sharing their feelings.

The question of how to help someone with depression, when that someone is a teenager still finding their way in life, is not easy to answer. Being a teenager comes with its own set of problems, particularly when you are perceived to be just a little different from your peers. Without a fully developed coping mechanism yet, your teenager will rely on you for support. Remember that, and do not reject their verbal or silent pleas for help.

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