Taking a teen to their routine check up usually doesn’t involve a screening for mental health issues like depression. With a growing number of teens experiencing mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, as well as a growing number of teens turning to drug and alcohol abuse, primary care physicians are being seen as a first line of defense. Mental health screenings can help a doctor detect if there is a problem which needs to be attended to. Numerous research studies have found that early interventions are the best in preventing a developing problem. Depression in teens is commonly overlooked, reduced to being a symptom of puberty and hormonal changes. If depression is a fully diagnosable problem in a teen, there are treatments and therapies available to help alleviate the symptoms before they contribute to harmful behaviors. In late February 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced an update in their guidelines which will aid primary care physicians as well as pediatricians in assessing depression in teens. Forbes cites “…that only 50% of teens with depressoin are diagnosed before they become an adult. Data also indicates that pediatricians fail to diagnose and treat 2 out of 3 teens with depression.” According to the article, “Is Your Teenager Depressed? Important Annual Screening Tool Identified” the new guidelines apply to young people between the ages of 12 and 21. The guidelines emphasize that there needs to be better early identification for depression risk as well as an annual screening for depression.
Depression in teens isn’t the same as adults
Teenagers display symptoms of depression differently than adults do. When teenagers are depressed, they are not as likely to be chronically sad, melancholy, or unmotivated- though they can be. Teenagers are more likely to be irritable and sensitive than they are to fit into the typical stereotype of depression. Rather than struggle with sleep, teens will oversleep- which can be difficult for parents to pinpoint as a symptom of depression because teens are known for sleeping excessively. Parents might also find confusion in trying to pinpoint changes in eating behaviors. Teenage boys especially are prone to eating an excessive amount of food. Overeating, more than usual, is another symptom of depression in teenagers. On the other hand, teenagers may not seek out food at all. Teens may also take a backseat to activities which normally make them happy. Everything will seem to be a problem and nothing sounds invigorating or inviting.
Treatment should effectively transform life from the bottom up. Our programs for adolescent and teenage boys at Stonewater Adolescent Recovery help build a positive foundation while providing life cleansing therapies for healing. Call us today for information on our residential programs with academic support: 1-662-598-4214