More and more teens are struggling with depression than ever before, and The Pediatric Specialists Medical Group in Trinity, FL can help.
Being a teenager can be a fun and memorable time in a person's life, but for many teens it can also be incredibly challenging and stressful. Aside from the traditional stressors of doing well in school, and getting along with family and peers, many teens reside in families with financial stresses at home, sometimes requiring them to work to help support their family. The one new factor contributing to the stress that teens that past generations have not had to deal with are their interactions with social media. This can become a very time-consuming preoccupation for teens, competing with the time they need to complete their other responsibilities such as homework. However, the main reason social media can be so detrimental to teens is that it forces them to compare themselves with other peers who may appear to be more popular from the number of “friends” or “likes” they receive. This focus on peers is common at this age and results in teens feeling inadequate as they compare themselves to the idealized portrayals of their peers on social media. In addition, we have been suffering through the COVID pandemic which has caused less physical interaction and more isolation in our society. All of these factors, as well as contributing medical reasons for depression such as a positive family history, may result in chemical imbalances in the brain leading to the rising rate of depression and anxiety in teenagers. Current research has revealed that as many as one in five teens suffer from clinical depression.
Determining if a teenager is suffering from clinical depression can be tricky to diagnose because symptoms that are common in adults such as feeling blue and crying may be absent in teens with teens with depression. Instead, they may show an increase in irritability or withdraw more from their normal activities. A trademark of being a teen is hormonal changes and being grumpy or moody which makes the diagnosis even more challenging. Teenagers may not realize that they are depressed or know how to share what they are feeling with the adults around them. However, if parents keep an eye out for these indicators, particularly if they last for more than a few weeks, it might be time to have the teenager seen and evaluated for depression:
- A dip in grades or declining performance at school
- Agitation, anger or rage
- Isolating from friends or family
- Dropping activities they normally enjoy
- Changes in appetite or sleep (eating too much or not enough and/or sleeping too much or hardly at all)
- Lack of motivation or energy/not enjoying things that they used to enjoy
- Lack of self-esteem
- Abusing substances such as alcohol or drugs
Depression is treatable through a variety of counseling and therapy avenues as well as with medication. Getting teens the help they need as soon as they begin exhibiting signs of depression could prevent long-term problems for teens such as substance abuse issues, and future mental health struggles.
If you think that your teen is struggling with depression, contact The Pediatric Specialists and make an appointment with one of our Pediatricians or Nurse practitioners who can help make the diagnosis and start helping your teen get back to feeling good again and back on track with their life. The Pediatric Specialists Medical Group is located in Trinity, FL and can be reached at (727) 375-5437.