Thursday, 2 February 2012
Is your teenager moody or depressed?
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.