Clinical depression affects about 1-6% of adolescents worldwide, and can have a big impact on a child’s schooling, relationships and health. Sometimes, adolescent depression can be mistaken for a behavioural problem so, for this reason alone early, diagnosis is important.
If you think your adolescent child might be suffering from depression, there are some clear signs you can look out for:
- Changes in behaviour and mood
- Anxiety and irritability
- Loss of interest in friends / social activities
- Deterioration in schoolwork
- Inability to concentrate
- Loss of, or increase in appetite
- Negative self-talk
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
Adolescents may be more at risk of developing depression if there is a family history of depression or if they have experienced significant life-changing events, such as the death of a close family member.
Treatment for adolescent depression depends on the severity of the condition. Psychological therapy is usually adequate for mild cases. Treating severe depression may include the use of medications such as anti-depressants to improve mood.
Appropriate psychological therapy might include:
- Anxiety management
- Identifying and modifying depressive thoughts
- Advice on nutrition, diet, exercise and sleep
If you suspect that your child might be suffering from depression, please contact the Sydney Child Psychology Centre to arrange an appointment.