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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – What To Know About #Teen #Anxiety And #Depression

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#Teen #anxiety and #depression are not medically different #mentalhealthconditions from #adult #anxiety and #depression. However, the symptoms of these conditions may present differently in #teenagers than they do in #adults.

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

This may be due to the different developmental and social challenges that #teenagers typically face, such as hormonal changes, developing brains and bodies, and peer pressure.

#Anxiety and #depression in #teenagers have been linked to high levels of #stress, a lower quality of life, and, in severe cases, #suicide.

According to the #NationalInstituteofMentalHealth, around 3.2 million people aged 12–17 years in the #UnitedStates had at least one major depressive episode in 2017. This represents 13.3% of all #teenagers in the U.S. People with #depression often also have #anxietydisorders.

Keep reading to learn more about the causes of #depression and #anxiety in #teenagers, some possible symptoms, advice for caregivers, and more.

Causes

Teen with anxiety and depression.

There are many possible causes of #anxiety and #depression in #teenagers. These include:

  • Genetics: #Teenagers with a family history of mood or #anxiety disorders may be at higher risk of developing them.
  • Trauma: #Teenagers with a history of trauma — such as #sexualabuse, violence, or involvement in an accident — may be more likely to experience #anxiety and #depression.
  • Environment: A teenager’s social, #school, and home environments can have an impact on their #mentalhealth. Difficulties such as abuse and neglect, divorce in the family, being bullied, poverty, learning disabilities, and struggling to fit in may all contribute to #depression and #anxiety.
  • Differences in the brain: #Teenagers’ brains are structurally different than #adults’ brains. Changes in #teenagers’ brain circuits that are involved in responses to danger and rewards can increase #stress levels. #Teenagers with #depression and #anxiety may also have different levels of neurotransmitters — such as dopamineserotonin, and norepinephrine — in their brains. These affect the regulation of moods and #behavior.
  • Substance misuse: Drug and alcohol misuse may affect #teenagers’ moods and lead to #depression. They may turn to these substances to self-medicate their emotions.
  • Stresses of puberty: #Teenagers who are experiencing puberty may go through hormonal changes that affect their mood and deal with the stresses of a changing body, which can make them feel different than their peers.
  • Negative thought patterns: #Depression and #anxiety in #teenagers may be linked to negative thought patterns. If #teenagers have regular exposure to negative thinking — often from their #parents — they may also develop a negative worldview.

Symptoms

It can be difficult for a #parent or caregiver to differentiate between #behavior that is a normal part of growing up and #behavior that may indicate a #mentalhealthcondition.

If #behavioral changes last for weeks or months, and if they interfere with a #teenager’s daily life, they may be symptoms of #depression, #anxiety, or both.

If a #teenager is presenting some of the following symptoms, they may be experiencing #depression or #anxiety:

  • They have low energy.
  • They have lost interest in things they used to enjoy.
  • They sleep too much or too little or seem constantly tired.
  • They have difficulty concentrating.
  • They are spending more and more time alone and avoiding social activities.
  • They diet excessively.
  • They engage in self-harm #behaviors, such as cutting or burning their skin.
  • They drink alcohol, use drugs, or smoke.
  • They feel deep sadness or #hopelessness.
  • They experience #anxiety and panic.
  • They are often irritable and lash out.
  • They engage in risky or destructive #behaviors, either alone or with friends.
  • They have suicidal thoughts.

Diagnosis

A #teenager can receive a full clinical diagnosis from a #healthcareprofessional such as a #doctor, #psychologist, or #psychiatrist.

Certain medical concerns can mimic #anxiety and #depression. These include thyroid disorders and substance use disorders. For this reason, it is necessary to rule those out to obtain a proper diagnosis.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorses a universal #depression screening guideline for people aged 12 years and above. #Healthcareprofessionals may use the AAP guidelines or #adult guidelines for older #teenagers.

The #doctor, #psychologist, or #psychiatrist will perform a psychological evaluation of the #teenager by asking a series of questions about their #behaviors, moods, and thoughts. They will also take into account the #teenager’s family history, peer relationships, and #school performance.

A #teenager must meet the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition to receive a diagnosis of #anxiety or #depression.

Treatment

A healthcare professional will treat a #teenager’s #depression, #anxiety, or both based on the severity of the condition. They may suggest psychotherapy (talk therapy), medication, or both.

Usually, a combination of the two is the most effective treatment. An antidepressant, or a combination of antidepressants, can help correct the chemical imbalance in the #teenager’s brain. Meanwhile, talk therapy may help combat negative thought patterns and #behaviors.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source has issued a warning that antidepressants may cause some #children and #teenagers to experience suicidal thoughts. The #FDA has approved two drugs to treat #depression in children: fluoxetine (Prozac), for #children aged 8 years and older, and escitalopram (Lexapro), for #children aged 12 years and older.

Experts state that they need more #pediatric studies, as many antidepressants with approval for #adults are not proven to work in #children.

The #FDA requires that all antidepressants include a warning about the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and #behaviors in #children, #adolescents, and #young #adults up to the age of 24 years.

Remedies

Aside from drug treatments and talk therapy, #teenagers who are experiencing #depression and #anxiety may get some relief from:

  • exercising and staying active, even if it only involves a short daily walk
  • spending time with friends and family
  • breaking up large tasks into smaller, simpler, more manageable ones
  • trying to maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • eating a healthy diet
  • asking for help

Speaking with a support group may also help #teenagers manage their #depression or #anxiety. Some organizations that offer help include:

Risk factors

Factors that may increase a #teenager’s risk of experiencing #depression or #anxiety include:

  • having difficulty adjusting socially
  • having a family history of #depression and #anxiety
  • having a lack of emotional support
  • being bullied in person or online
  • living in an abusive or violent home
  • experiencing a crisis, such as death or divorce in the family
  • experiencing past trauma
  • having a chronic illness
  • having difficulty with their #sexualorientation or gender identity

Advice for caregivers

#Parents or caregivers of #teenagers who have #depression, #anxiety, or both can help them by viewing the condition as a serious matter that requires professional attention.

They should help their #teenagers find a therapist that they feel comfortable talking with and discuss a treatment program with a #medicalprofessional.

#Parents and caregivers can also try to encourage their #teenagers to exercise, be social, schedule their activities into manageable chunks, and find an outlet for their emotions, such as a journal or support group.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Summary

There are many potential causes of #depression and #anxiety in #teenagers. These include genetics, trauma, their environment, differences in the brain, substance misuse, the #stress of puberty, and negative thought patterns.

The symptoms of #depression and #anxiety in #teenagers may include low energy, a lack of interest in things they used to enjoy, disrupted sleep, and feelings of #hopelessness.

The most effective treatment for #depression and #anxiety is usually a combination of talk therapy and medication.

Aside from medical treatment, #teenagers may be able to improve their symptoms by exercising, making large tasks more manageable, socializing, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and asking for help.

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com
READ LATER - DOWNLOAD THIS POST AS PDF >> CLICK HERE <<

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