Depression is one of those monsters that can attack at any time. Technically, depression can be seen once in a while in teenagers but only in short spurts. This is perfectly normal and as a parent, you can breathe a sigh of relief since it will show no signs of getting serious. However, if you notice that your teen begins to exhibit the symptoms of depression more and more frequently, it might be high time to intervene as something may be terribly wrong with him. Some symptoms you should look out for is constant anger and irritability, social isolation, chronic fatigue, drastic changes in dietary and sleeping habits, constant crying, hopelessness, and suicidal tendencies. If you notice any of these symptoms and it seems that it has become a staple in his life, then you should take some precautions immediately.
Obviously, upon an initial consultation with a physician, you will be given a variety of anti-depressants for your teen to take. However, since most of these prescription drugs come with a bevy of undesired side effects, you will want to put a hold on that for the meantime. Remember, there are ways to treat depression with the use of medication. Here are some ideas.
- Communication is key. Sometimes, depression can actually be treated by a simple conversation. By allowing your teen to rant and express his feelings to your verbally, you are allowing him to vent out his anxiety which should make him feel much better. The only problem is that teens can be difficult to deal with when you want them to open up to you, especially if you are his parent. If that is the case, you can call on his friends and see if they can get him to talk about his problems and feelings. If things get desperate, you can always hire a counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist and get your teen to attend a few sessions with that particular specialist trained in the art of communication and analysis.
- Get him active. One of the best options out there that you can explore to combat depression is through exercise and physical activity. This is one way for your teen to release all the pent up anger, sadness, and anxiety in his mind and body. Once you are able to get him active, you should see a drastic improvement on how he lives and his outlook on life. The hard part here is forcing him to get active as he will probably lean against that option. But, when you do get him moving, everything should fall right back into place.
- Get him eating right. Studies have shown that a teen eating a lot of junk food, fast food, and other foods high in sugar, fats, and processed carbs can contribute to depression. In some cases, it may even trigger it. To combat depression, get him to eat more vegetables, fruits, grains, fish, and lean meats. Couple the diet with exercise and you should see the depression fly away from his appearance.
Aside from these practical treatment tips, you may also try other options such as homeopathic remedies like acupuncture and yoga. If all else fails, consult your doctor again and inquire about electroconvulsive therapy or ECT. This is a non-medication based treatment that some doctors offer which has proven to be quite effective for people suffering from serious depression.