Treating Teenage Anxiety and Depression

by Richard Jacobs

Adolescents and teenagers often suffer from anxiety and depression, which if left untreated, can cause serious damage.

You will be surprised to know that 1 out of 33 teenagers suffer from depression and several thousands of them attempt suicide as a result of depression. Sadly, out of the ones who attempt to commit suicide, 5,000 are able to pull it off. The good thing is that depression and anxiety are treatable and the quicker they are treated, the better.

Not just a phase!

The first thing which parents have to understand is that their child's depression should not be dismissed as just a “phase,” especially if the symptoms last for more than a couple of weeks.

The signs which parents should look for in a depressed teen are crying, irritability, withdrawal from everyone, lack of energy, feeling of hopelessness and uselessness, difficulty sleeping, appetite changes, and sad thoughts which are often accompanied with thoughts of death. As a parent you should familiarize yourself with these signs and symptoms so you can take the right steps at the right time.

Another thing to understand here is that it is not just the parents who should be aware of these signs and symptoms. Teenagers should also familiarize themselves with the teen depression symptoms so they can seek help if needed.

What is Anxiety?

For anyone, anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. In teenagers, it could be as a result of any stressful activity or phase in life such as school tests, meeting new people, speaking in public, going on a date, competing in sports, arguments with friends or just about anything else.

Some teens react more strongly as compared to others which can cause great distress. Low levels of anxiety are not harmful, such as when you are preparing for a test, but some levels of anxiety can be harmful, especially when they are excessive. In such a situation, the person is so anxious that they cannot focus. In these situations, the person should calm down or do something to enjoy their life.

Coping with Anxiety

Teenagers often find ways to cope with their anxiety, but the first and most important step in coping with anxiety is recognizing the cause of your anxiety. If you know what kinds of situations make you anxious, you can prepare for them in advance so you know what to do when the time comes. Despite this, if you still experience high levels of anxiety, you should get help from a health care professional or therapist.

Coping with Depression

Depression and feelings of sadness can be overwhelming in some teenagers. If you do not cope with it at the right time, it can turn deadly, which is when teenagers end up hurting themselves.

To cope with depression, you need to stop your emotions from taking over. If you are feeling uncontrollable, you should tell yourself to wait and try and relax before taking any action.

If you are afraid you will lose control, ask a friend, sibling or parent to be with you so you are not alone. If you cannot find anyone to be with you, call a friend to discuss the matter with them. If that does not help either, go out to a public place, like a park or a shopping mall where there are people around.

Remember, that suicide is not the solution to a temporary problem like stress, depression or anxiety. If things still keep on getting out of control, seek professional help. You can only get help when you reach out for it.

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"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8

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