We all know that teens are moody. You remember your own teen years ... how intense your feelings were, how you soared to edgy emotional highs, and then plummeted down into stress and heartache over troubles that seem now insignificant. Are Teens As Sex-Crazed As Pop Culture Makes Them Out To Be?
Depression is a different matter. It is not moodiness; it is a mood disorder — a serious medical condition that often leads to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Until recently, it was thought that children and teens do not get mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder. The sad truth is they do. For example, please consider these statistics:
- The average age of depression onset is 14 years old.
- By the end of their teen years, 20% will have had depression.
- More than 70% will improve through therapy and medication.
- But 80% of teens don't receive help regarding their depression.
What's worse? Untreated depression can lead to substance abuse, academic failure, bullying (30% for those bullied, 19% for those doing the bullying), eating disorders, and even suicide, which is the third leading cause of death among 10 to 24 year olds.
How do you tell the difference between clinical depression and ordinary teen moodiness? These are the signs parents may notice. If they last for at least two weeks, what you are seeing may be depression:
1. An irritable, sad, empty or cranky mood and belief that life is meaningless.
3. Changes in appetite, significant weight gain or loss.
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