Feeling sad and moody are inescapable and part of the human experience. This is true especially for children and teens. However, what should a caretaker do if they have concerns that their child or teen may be experiencing something more than just sadness?
Depression is a serious medical condition and is experienced by children and young people as well. According to the CDC, depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children. Data and statistics suggest a rise in depression among children and teens.
Depression may include:
- Chronic sadness
- Displaying little interest in activities they used to enjoy
- Isolating or withdrawing from others
- Sudden change in weight
- Sleep changes or difficulties
- Behaving sluggish or irritable at times
- Has a negative self-view of themselves and their world
- Difficulty concentrating and decline in academic or work performances
- Feeling hopeless or suicidal
If any of the above describes what your child or teen is experiencing, counseling may be beneficial. In counseling, your child or teen is afforded a confidential space to speak freely and process their feelings. Children and young people are often looking for someone to understand and just listen, which is what our professional counselors can provide. Through a safe and non-judgmental approach, underlying causes for the depression are discovered and can be addressed. We can also help your child or adolescent develop coping skills and self-soothing strategies to better manage their heavy feelings.
Raging hormones during teenage years can result in many ups and downs. As hard as that can be for teenagers, it’s also difficult for parents to differentiate between moodiness and a mental health condition like depression. Parents need to look for the symptoms and stay connected with their teens.
Depression in Teens – Why Counseling Helps
Between peer pressure and hormonal changes, some teens struggle and may suffer from depression.
However, teenage depression is a chronic condition and can be challenging for parents and teens to address. Parents need to communicate with their teens. Your child can also benefit from receiving counseling from a mental health specialist in St. Louis, MO.
Which Teens Are at Risk for Major Depression?
Understanding your teen’s risk can help you identify the problem and get them the care necessary. Risk factors include:
- Family history of depression
- Abuse or neglect
- Physical or emotional trauma
- Under more stress than the average
- Mental, behavioral or learning disorder
What Are the Symptoms of Major Depression in a Teen?
While each teen experiences major depression differently, certain symptoms are common, including:
- Prolonged sadness
- Feelings of helplessness or despair
- Low self-esteem
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
- Decreased energy
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Relationship difficulties
- Trouble making decisions or focusing
- Stomach problems or headaches
- Sensitivity to rejection or failure
Why Counseling Helps Teens With Depression
Adolescents with depression can benefit from a counselor because the individual is an unbiased third party. It’s a safe space to talk without fearing judgment or repercussions. If talk therapy isn’t enough, a psychiatrist may prescribe medication to ease the symptoms.
Depression in Children
It’s normal for children to experience depressive symptoms such as fleeting sadness or loneliness. But a child who is sad continuously, especially when it affects their relationships, may be suffering from depression — which requires medical intervention.
Shockingly, one in every five young people suffers from a mental health issue. Interpersonal therapy and/or medication can help.
What Causes Childhood Depression?
Currently, the cause of depression in children is unknown. Some evidence indicates it may be a combination of:
- Physical health
- Life events
- Biochemical disturbances
- Family history
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Childhood Depression?
Childhood depression is commonly undiagnosed and untreated because it’s brushed off as normal emotions. However, depression is more complex than usual emotions. Depressed children may show symptoms that go beyond normal, healthy childhood emotions, such as:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in appetite
- Feelings of hopelessness or sadness
- Loss of interest in hobbies or extracurricular activities
- Stomachaches or headaches
- Social withdrawal
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- Crying spells
When to Seek Counseling for Depression in Children or Teens
If you notice signs of depression in your child, such as suicidal ideations, it’s important to contact a counselor who works with kids and teens. Symptoms of depression usually don’t get better on their own and could worsen, increasing the risk of suicide or self-harm.
At Get Centered Counseling, we work with children, teens and patients of all ages to provide effective treatment of depression and other mental disorders. With both individual and family therapy available, we can help you and your family to provide the best possible support for your child or teen.
If you believe your child or teen is struggling with symptoms of depression and needs support, our affiliated professional counselors are here to help. They practice child-friendly evidence-based techniques such as play, art, and sandtray in their therapy. They may also utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Solution-Focused approaches. Give our office a call today and let’s schedule a time to talk.