Even The “Happiest” Teen Can Be Battling Depression

Even The Happiest Teen Can Be Battling Depression

What does a depressed teen look like? Depressed teenagers are typically depicted as being constantly sad, miserable and alone. Being depressed is seen as a constant state of doom, gloom and despair, at least that is the common perception. In fact, most would be hard pressed to believe that teens who seem happy and content with their lives could be suffering from crippling depression.

Yet, data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) shows that depression is one of the most common mental health disorders among teens and adults in the US. According to these statistics, between 10-15% of teenagers have some symptoms of teen depression at any one time with up to 12 million youth aged 12-17 reporting that they experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2014 (the year the survey was conducted).

Teen Depression

Those statistics show that teen depression is a big issue in today’s society. One of the main reasons depression remains so hard to detect is because people experience it differently. Some teens might withdraw and become sullen while others might outwardly appear cheerful and outgoing.

As a parent, you might think that your son or daughter couldn’t possibly be depressed. They score good grades, have a circle of close friends and seem to be getting on well both socially and academically. However, sometimes those who appear happy and smiling could be internally battling depressive symptoms. Psychologists refer to this as “smiling depression”.

Those suffering from this might also be unaware that they’re experiencing some form of depression. Your teen son or daughter might discount or brush aside their own feelings. Alternatively, they could put on an external façade of happiness while suffering inside. They might feel at their best when socializing only to be overcome by feelings of despair, anger, anxiety, hopelessness and worthlessness when alone.

Seeking Help

Since depression can be difficult to detect and treat, thanks to its contradictory symptoms, it is up to parents to learn the skills needed to identify any warning signs. There are plenty of resources available to teach you how to detect any behavioral and emotional changes in your teen and how to cope with teen depression.

Perhaps one of the best ways for you to help is by learning how to effectively communicate with your teen. Cultivating a non-judgmental, open relationship with your child will encourage them to talk with you about any issues they are going through. Also, the more involved you are in your teens’ lives, the easier it is to notice any worrying changes.

Above all, remember that with your love and support, your child can learn to manage or overcome depression and go on to lead a happy, fulfilling life

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