Some parents can tell when their child is struggling with their mental health. Other parents are shocked to discover that their child has been living with a mental health condition. One of the difficulties in overcoming mental health stigma is recognizing that mental health doesn’t look a certain way. There are some symptoms of various mental health issues which can be more obvious than others. Typically, depression is thought to be demonstrated through slow or low energy behavior, a tendency toward darker subjects or sad music, and feeling hopeless. All of these are common symptoms of depression, however, they are not the only symptoms of depression. Depression can be well hidden, which is why many people, adults and children alike, are unaware that they are depressed because their symptoms don’t exemplify the wider understanding of depression. Symptoms of depression can be subtle through things like word choice. Research from the University of Reading recently discovered that certain speech patterns directly correlate to whether or not someone is depressed. People who are depressed use pronouns more often than people who are not depressed. There is a greater frequency of negativity in the language of people living with depression than those who are not depressed. One of the most interesting discoveries of the research which should be of interest to parents of children and teens is that depressed people use extremes in their language. Children and teens can be prone to drama. When a teen isn’t getting their way, it isn’t uncommon to hear a phrase like “You never listen to me”, “You always do this” as a parent. Teens are also prone to using generalizations when there is something going on at school they feel insecure about: “Everyone thinks so” “Everything is riding on what I wear” “Nobody does that, ever”. Parents are quick to reassure teens that these generalizations cannot possibly be true. However, these generalizations might need to be taken seriously, according to the study, as they could be a sign of depression. Researchers found that people who are depressed use this kind of intense language more often, a hallmark of their struggling hopelessness.
If you are concerned your child is struggling with depression and has turned to drug or alcohol abuse to cope, there is help available. Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers long term residential treatment programming for adolescent and teenage boys needing recovery from addiction. For information, call us today: 662-598-4214