Living with a mood disorder like depression or anxiety can be a struggle for adults, but it is particularly challenging for those in high school and college! In addition to affecting their ability to learn and gain critical adulting skills, it puts them at greater risk for suicide.
Teen suicide is on the increase and is the third leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24, following accidents and homicide.
Depression looks different in young people
Depression in teens/college students can present differently than in adults. While adults tend to be sad or flat, depressed teens often demonstrate anger, irritability, or sarcasm. A depressed teenager may be grumpy, hostile, easily frustrated, or even prone to angry outbursts.
How can you tell if your child is struggling with clinical depression, which is a medical disorder, and ordinary growing pains?
You should seek profesisonal help if you see the following symptoms for at least two weeks:
- An irritable, sad, or empty mood
- Statements that life is meaningless
- Loss of interest in sports or activities previously enjoyed
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Changes in appetite, resulting in significant weight gain or loss
- Too much or too little sleep with trouble getting up in the morning
- Drug and alcohol abuse -- teens may use alcohol or drugs in an attempt to “self-medicate” their depression
- Unusually poor performance in school, a drop in grades, or frequent absences
- Frequent complaints of physical pain (headaches or stomachache) or frequent visits to a school nurse / campus medical center
- Low self-esteem and feelings of shame, failure, and unworthiness; making negative statements about themselves
- Negligent behaviors such as reckless driving, out-of-control drinking, and unsafe sex
Getting an evaluation from a physician that specializes in mood disorders, a psychiatrist, is critical to getting your teen or college-aged student on the road to being the best version of themselves sooner rather than later. Call us to learn more at 770-817-9200.