The teenage years are always tough. They are becoming more aware of what they look like and what other people think of them. They are worried about their weight, their skin and their hair. They want to look the same as everyone else, they want to fit in, and they want to be popular. Being in anyway different as a teenager can make you feel like an outcast. Then, there are exams to worry about, on top of the stress of homework and planning for colleges and future ambitions. Teenagers can also go through a lot in their relationships. Romance is starting to play a part in their lives, their friendships are more intense than ever before, and they inevitably go through periods of hating their parents, who couldn’t possibly understand them. It’s hard work.
On top of all of that, teens today have the added pressures that come with spending huge amounts of your life online. Social media is great, but it often leads to bullying and peer pressure. Teenagers today are competing to have the best Instagram profile and the most followers. They are sharing everything online, without fully understanding the consequences, and they face pressure from all angles.
With so much to worry about, and their bodies and hormones going crazy, it’s no surprise that many teenagers suffer from anxiety and other mental health issues. Teen depression treatment is available, but first, you need to be able to spot the signs of depression and anxiety in your teenager. Here are some of the things that you should be watching out for.
A Lack of Interest in School
A lack of interest in school can be hard to notice. Because to an extent, it’s perfectly normal. All teenagers, even the ones who love studying, occasionally feel reluctant to go to school or feel a little lost when it comes to preparing for college or looking at their future options. This is usually just because they’re having trouble with a friend. They don’t like a class. There’s an assignment that they are struggling with or because they feel overwhelmed by all of the decisions facing them. In these cases, it’s important to offer advice and support, but not to jump to conclusions.
However, sometimes, it’s more than that. If your child starts to dread going into school to the point that it’s making them ill, that they are lying or dragging their feet in the mornings, or that they are crying and making a scene at the school gates, this reluctance could be something more serious.
A Loss of Appetite
Most teenagers never stop eating. But, you know yours. You know their usual eating patterns, and how hungry they get. Look for changes that might be worrying. If they aren’t eating breakfast, it might be because of a problem at school. Binge eating, hiding food, under eating, food left in a lunch box or a huge change in eating habits can be a sign of anxiety or an eating disorder.
Mood swings are, unfortunately, one of the most normal, and unpleasant parts of being a teenager. You’ll be used to moodiness, extreme changes in mood and a general grumpiness. But, there are normal mood swings and those that aren’t normal.
If you notice that your teenager is experiencing personality changes, that they are jittery, restless or irritable. That they are hyperactive, have unexplained angry outbursts, or very suddenly become upset for no clear reason, then it might be a sign of anxiety or depression more than the usual teenage worries.
Teenagers friendship groups can change. Boyfriends and girlfriends come along, they start spending time in different crowds, and they make plans with new people. But, some of their friends will stay the same. Generally, kids make firm friends. While some drift over time, others stick. Their best friends will be a part of their circle no matter what. If these start to change, there might be a problem.
If your teen stops wanting to go out and socialize, or you find them avoiding certain people, activities or groups, or that they suddenly don’t want to be a part of groups and clubs that they’ve always enjoyed before, it could be a sign of a problem. You might also notice them becoming withdrawn, spending more time alone in their room and isolating themselves at home and at school.
Anxious or depressed teens might sleep much more, or much less than usual. If you notice that they look tired in the mornings, that they are struggling to stay awake early in the evenings, or that you are struggling to wake them for school in the morning, they might be having sleep problems.