Between the changes in your brain, your body, and your friend groups, being a teenager comes with various challenges. Difficult and stressful situations can lead to emotional ups and downs as are part of life in flux. Sometimes though it is hard to know the difference between sadness and depression. If your teen is expressing or reporting sadness or low mood, these questions may be helpful to consider:
- Has your teen been overwhelmingly sad for several weeks or months?
- Has your teen been struggling with concentration?
- Has your teen stopped enjoying things he or she typically enjoys?
- Has your teen’s sadness been interfering with their daily activities, such as eating, sleeping, hygiene, or schoolwork?
- Has your teen been feeling worthless or helpless, or expressing an excess amount of guilt?
- Has your teen reported feeling overwhelmed, like their daily activities are now too much to bear?
- Has your teen withdrawn from friendships, sports/activities, or family events?
- Has your teen been engaging in self harm or experiencing suicidal ideations?
Depression is more than just being sad. It may feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest making it difficult to get out of bed each morning. In addition to the questions above, if your teen’s grades are dropping, they are spending more time alone, and they are reporting physical pains, such as headaches or stomach problems, without a clear cause, your teen may be struggling with depression.
When does depression warrant counseling?
Though depression varies in severity, if left untreated it can become problematic in areas of self worth, functioning and personal safety. Answering “yes” to any of the above questions is a sign that counseling could be helpful. Additionally, if your teen has a family history of depression, then we recommend seeking counseling at the early onset of depressive symptoms. For those teens who are already displaying safety risks, it is recommended to seek therapy immediately.
How can therapy help?
Therapy creates a space to identify and manage troubling emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Outside of the therapy room, your teen can implement the following things to help progress the work inside the therapy room as well: staying active, keeping a regular sleep schedule, spending more time with friends and family, and breaking down tasks into small, achievable goals. Therapy can help create a safe place for your teen to vocalize many of the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that may be impacting their mood. Allowing time for your teen to build a safe and trusting relationship with the therapist can help them get the most out of counseling.
If therapy seems like the right fit for your teen, schedule online at raleighfamilysolutions.com or call Family Solutions & Wellness Center to start seeing one of our therapists today.