Depression and Anxiety in Children and Teens
Pediatric Mental Health Specialist in South Denver, CO
As we grow up, it is to be expected that we will face many challenges and obstacles in our lives. These occurrences help us to develop our emotions and emotional responses, which are strong influencers of our mental health. Some may struggle more than others to manage their emotions in a healthy way, but early intervention and counseling can help your child to develop appropriate coping mechanisms to handle their depression and/or anxiety.
About Teen Depression
As a parent, it may be hard to determine whether or not your child is depressed. Sadly, over half of all kids with diagnosable depression are not receiving treatment, according to the Child Mind Institute. This is only one reason why it is so important for parents to be aware of their son or daughter’s mental state, and to provide ample resources and support for them to utilize.
Symptoms of Depression to Watch For
Kids, especially teenagers, are going to be moody. We have all experienced the influx of hormones and bodily changes that happen during middle school and high school, and it often results in changed behaviors. It can be tough to distinguish these typical changes from actual signs of depression, which is why you should refer to a list of telltale symptoms if you are questioning your child’s mental health. These symptoms of depression include:
Issues at school:
Academic performance is often one of the first things affected by teen depression. If your kid’s grades suddenly begin to drop, they seem to have significantly less energy or motivation, or they start to frequently skip classes, then they may be acting out as a result of their impaired mental health.
It is common for young adults to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with their emotions. This may be done to either dull the senses from their emotional pain, or to seek attention and concern from authoritative figures by engaging in high-risk behaviors.
Intense attachment to their smartphone or computer: Many children will try to “escape” their current situation by entering into an altered reality online.
Insecurity and low self-esteem: Unfortunately it is not uncommon for victims of bullying to become severely depressed. As we all know, bullying often occurs when children are at school, and this may begin to present itself at home as general remarks or feelings about being ugly, unworthy, or shameful.
Teens suffering from undiagnosed or untreated depression are more likely to react to difficult situations by becoming incredibly irritated, angry, and potentially even violent.
Presence of other mental health issues:
It is common for individuals with other mental health problems such as an eating disorder or self-harm to also suffer from depression.
Anxiety in Teens and Young Adults
It is entirely normal for any person to experience some anxiety every once in a while. This response is very typical if we are in an uncomfortable situation, or if we are anticipating a stressful event that may have us feeling nervous and worrisome. However, individuals with clinical anxiety do not experience these occasional waves of anxiety, but rather, they are dealing with them constantly and at a much higher intensity than most.
Classification of an Anxiety Disorder
Not all anxiety disorders will share the same symptoms. While excessive worry and fear are general hallmarks of an anxiety issue, the smaller idiosyncrasies of your child’s abnormal behaviors will determine what specific type of mental health disorder they are dealing with. Some common anxiety disorders include:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic attacks
- Social anxiety
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
It is also possible for young adults to have generalized anxiety. In this case, there is no one particular source of the child’s anxiety. Instead, they feel a broad sense of worry over things in their everyday life such as their academics, family life, and often about their future plans or aspirations.
Finding Help for Your Child’s Mental Health Problems
If you begin to notice signs of depression, anxiety, or any other mental health disorders in your child, it is best to contact a professional as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment. At Pediatrics 5280, our mental health specialists will work with you and your child to address their concerns and to develop healthy strategies for dealing with their disorder.
Teens and young adults rarely have enough self-awareness to seek out help on their own. This is why it is so crucial for you to be there for them to offer support and assistance as they learn how to manage their symptoms of depression and/or anxiety.