Adolescent Depression is a challenging, and often debilitating, disease that needs to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible to achieve the best results.

To begin the process, it’s important to talk to your adolescent. If they are undergoing stress and/or emotional changes, talk to them about it and observe their methods of coping. Ask your child and yourself these important questions:

  • How are they coping with the stress? What coping skills do they have?
  • Is their daily routine (sleep, appetite, energy, motivation) being affected in any way?
  • Are there changes in grades, peer interactions, or engagement in family activities?

If they choose not to communicate with you about these questions, then ask yourself:

  • Are they staying in their room all/most of the day and/or avoiding social interactions?
  • Do they cry more days than not?
  • Do they have a change in their appetite or weight?
  • Are they no longer interested in hobbies or activities that used to bring them joy?
  • Are they quick to anger or agitation?
  • Do they hurt themselves?
  • Are they not taking care of their physical appearance?
  • Are they participating in risky behavior?

You could also ask them to complete this Depression Screen.

If the answers to the above questions or if their results from the Depression Screen are concerning, then your radar for depression should be high.

The next step is to seek professional assistance from a psychologist or psychiatrist to clarify the diagnosis. Depending on the diagnosis, the doctor can work with your adolescent to come up with an individualized treatment plan that works for them and their needs. This treatment plan can consist of psychotherapy, medication management, and/or TMS therapy.

A strong support system for your adolescent is extremely important during this process, and the sooner they get treatment, the more likely your adolescent will achieve remission in this episode, which decreases the risk for future episodes as well.

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