Do you know if your teen is having problems with anxiety and depression?
Teens often go for months or even years concealing their true feelings. They don’t want you to think that they cannot handle their lives. Most parents don’t know what is going on in their teen’s world, much less what is going on with their mental health.
It is normal for everyone to feel anxious at times or depressed at other times. There are usually conditions in their lives that warrant such feelings. It is important to understand that your teen is not as well equipped to deal with these emotions as you are. You have a lot more life experience and you’ve been through bouts of anxiety and depression before.
The kind of anxiety and depression I am talking about in this post is the kind of anxiety and depression that stops you in your tracks, immobilizes you or creates other problems in your life, such as sleep disturbance, difficulty concentrating or uncontrollable crying.
Most teens manage low levels of anxiety and depression just fine.
ith no intervention at all, just like you did when you were a teen. However if your teen appears to be more anxious than other kids her age or more depressed than you feel is appropriate given the circumstances, then it may be time to get an assessment. If your teen does have an anxiety or depressive disorder, you must take action as soon as possible.
How do you know if your teen has an anxiety or depressive disorder? You don’t, unless you have a mental health professional perform an assessment. There are many clinicians in your community who can help you identify the problem with your teen and they can help the whole family respond in a way to alleviate the anxiety and depression in a relatively short period of time.
You teen MUST be on board with the plan.
If they do not feel they have a problem, then you can do nothing to prevent the problem from getting worse. You know it, but they don’t and until they are ready to tackle the problem of anxiety and depression, you will need to be available and patient. Your teen is cleaver. Your teen is resourceful. Your teen will figure this out or they will eventually come to you, but your teen MUST know that you are available.
Should your teen feel that you are not available, not accepting of them, not understanding or not caring, then this increases the likelihood that the anxiety and depression could increase to the point where serious interventions are required, such as psychotropic medication or an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.
If you are unsure or you have been suspecting that your teen may have some anxiety and depression then don’t hesitate.
Click Here to download a depression questionnaire for your teen.
In order to get a good idea of anxiety levels two questionnaires are completed. Your child completes a form and you, the parent or caregiver also complete the form. These forms are the Screen for Child Related Anxiety Disorders (SCARED)
Click Here to download the child version.
Click Here to download the parent version.
These questionnaires are just the beginning and are not the only data you need in order to fully and accurately diagnose anxiety or depressive disorders. If your results suggest or indicate the likelihood of your child having anxiety and depression, then seek professional help immediately. Don’t hesitate when it comes to your child’s mental health. Early intervention is critical.
If you would like some help interpreting your specific situation, please contact me at your convenience. I’ll be happy to assist in any way that I can.
If you know someone who has a teen who may have some anxiety and depression then forward this article to them. It may just save a life.