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الاثنين، 21 فبراير 2011

Teen Depression: Know the facts

Depression in teens is not defined by gender, social background, finance, race or personal achievements. It is a disease that does not discriminate. The most profound statistic about teenage depression is that left untreated, it is the leading cause of suicide.
It is estimated that 20% to 50% of teens who experience depression have a family member with depression or other mental disorders; however, depressed teenagers often do not display the same signs and symptoms generally seen in adults. Additionally, if a parent is suffering from depression, they may be less in tune to what their own child is going through.
Teenagers who are experience depression may not always realize or have the ability to verbalize what they are feeling so it is important for parents, teachers and friends to stay plugged in and watch for signs of depression or changes in behavior. It can often times be hard to distinguish between what is normal developmental/hormonal changes in a child and the signs of depression, but here are some things to watch for:
1. Depressed teens are likely to have fewer friends and take less interest in opportunities for education or work.
2. They are more likely to have relationship problems, both inside and outside the home, as well as struggle in school or in the work place.
3. They are more likely to engage in high risk (unprotected) sexual behavior, leading to an increase in pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

The latest statistics indicate that less than 33% of depressed teens will get help, yet 80% of those who get professional from a physician or therapist are successfully treated. Finances should never be a factor in seeking help for your child. Regardless of your income or insurance, there are agencies available to help your child get the help they need. In the Dallas area Metrocare Services is a nonprofit organization with several clinic locations that are dedicated to providing children and families with the assistance they need.
So many parents chalk a teen’s behavior up to “a phase” or tell themselves they will “outgrow it” but it is important to recognize certain signs which indicate it is time to contact a healthcare provider immediately:
1. Giving away cherished possessions.
2. Personality changes, which could include decreased or increased sleep or appetite.
3. Risk taking behaviors: Reckless driving, drugs, sex, and alcohol.
4. Suddenly becoming involved with a different group of friends.
5. Withdrawal and isolation.

Lastly, if you have seen concerning changes in your child, don’t be afraid of offending your child: As long as they live in your home, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO GO THROUGH THEIR THINGS! Check their computer history and see what websites they have been visiting. Go through their rooms and look for drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, etc. Read your child’s diary or journal. YOU CANNOT ASSUME YOUR CHILD WILL ALWAYS TELL YOU WHAT THEY ARE REALLY FEELING. Love your child enough to protect them from themselves
Children and teens are often impulsive and base their actions on emotion more than facts or logic. They lack the maturity to realize that what may seem like the greatest crisis of their life today, probably will not be as dramatic in a month. NEVER IGNORE A SUICIDE THREAT OR ATTEMPT BY YOUR CHILD. If you feel your child is at imminent risk of self-harm, take them to the nearest emergency room immediately.
Remember, depression is nothing to be embarrassed about. Depression is a disease and ignoring will not make it go away; as with any other disease, left untreated, it can prove fatal.

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