Thursday, 2 February 2012

Is your teenager moody or depressed?

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I have been reading a number of articles and summary of research findings by Anita Thapar, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Cardiff University. She researches depression, autism and learning difficulties, all areas of interest to me.

Today I've seen the summary findings of some research on adolescent depression. I wish I could say I'd read the whole paper but the British Medical Journal requires membership to read it - come on BMJ, allow us to read these papers. However I've read what I'm allowed and it is clear that the research shows the importance of identifying teenage depression as soon as possible; the earlier it's spotted, the easier and better the treatment.

So how do you tell the difference between normal teenage moods and depression?
1. Depression is a low mood which goes on too long, over a couple of weeks or more.
2. They separate from friends
3. They stop wanting to go anywhere
4. It's a challenge to get them to school
5. They might become more nocturnal: sleep patterns change
6. Appetite changes
7. Energy levels drop

What to do if you think your child or teenager is depressed.
See your doctor and ask for help. There are counselling services and support groups which have great success rates around the country.


julieann said...

Getting any one to listen and take notice is the hard part when it comes to children and there mental health,we have been seeing psychologists with are child for many years now and have not got any practical support for are child or the rest of the family. After are first few visits we were told "it's bad behaver that your child has learnt from you" (the apple dose not fall far from the tree)and was put on a paranting course, we have six children and only one who finds day to day life and happiness a struggle( all we can say is one miss shaped apple dose not make a bad tree,Then we was told it was border line ADHD and border line this that and the othere,Then it's "your child gets depressed but is not depressed". Are child has had a low mood since as young as 4 years old and now at the age of 13 the moods are more intense with phisical and verbale aggression and an heart braeking loathing of self and everything and everyone in are childs life these "moods" wich can last from a few day to a few weeks are often followed by a day or a few hours of exaggerated hyped up happieness,the best way to describe are child is like a helium balloon for a short time is bouncing on the ceiling followed by a prolonged inability to get up off the ground.Depression is not just for stressed adults,children and adolescents can and do get depressed but this is often given the name of bad behaver or bad parenting and sometimes ADHD,Even as we have found by the psychologists we have seen at are local C.H.A.M.S.(child and adolescent mental health service). More research into child mental health is needed and regular retraining of psycholgists to keep them up to date on new findings so that more children and familys get the help and suport that is much needed

Emma Major said...

Julie Ann, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I am so sorry that you have had such a hard time getting help for your son. I hope that CAMS can now provide the support you all need. It is so important to keep following our parental instincts and fighting for help for kids who are depressed. well done for being the champion for your son, I pray that he starts improving.