Depression can be defined as feeling of sadness, despair, and hopelessness. Signs of depression can include: sleep disruption, change of appetite and loss of interest in normal activities. For teens, anger/aggression or frequent outbursts can be signs of depression. When depression interferes with one’s daily activities and functioning level, one needs to be concerned and seek help.
The most common self-destructive behaviors seen in teens and adolescents include: cutting, eating disorders, and sometimes suicide ideation. These types of behaviors are difficult for adults to recognize and understand. When a young person stops eating, binges or purges, or cuts themselves, it is usually an indication that he/she is in emotional pain and needs help.
Bullying happens all the time and it happens in a variety of arenas. For example, there is emotional bullying, cyber bullying, physical bullying, racist bullying, sexual bullying and verbal bullying. Whichever the case, bullying affects a teen’s self-esteem and can cause depression. “Kids will be kids” is not acceptable when it comes to a teen fearing going to school.
Teenagers experience a wide variety of anxiety, and in most cases, anxiety is a treatable condition with proper intervention. In school, young people worry about social status, acceptance, academic and athletic performance, etc. A parent should be concerned if a teen’s worry is impacting their function level. The topic of the worry is not as important as how much it impacts daily life for the individual.
Facebook and texting are big challenges for parents, teachers, counselors and the like. Parents ask themselves, “Should I allow this in my home?” In my experience, I have found that the lack of parental monitoring has created a world of social fantasy for their kids. This fantasy world often causes problems within the family unit and with peers. Teens say and do things online that they would never attempt in real life.
Academics, athletics, and even social situations can put a tremendous amount of stress on teens. The pressure to perform well and be the best is a very heavy load to bear. Teens often need help in finding a healthy way to release some of the build up. Many times those who try to over-do without a release will end up turning to some of the self-destructive behaviors mentioned above.