Adolescence is the tough part to deal for some teens. But as a teacher, it is important to understand the difference between a typical teen issue and a more serious problem. Of course, many teens feel blue at times. This is why parents prefer to enrol their child in student care centres to help them socialize. But sometimes their unusual behaviour might signal a severe problem they are dealing with. If left untreated, it can have major consequences.
They are already dealing with hormone havoc and many other changes in life, so it’s easy to see their mood changing like a rollercoaster. But how do you differentiate whether it is normal irritability and moodiness or signs of something more serious afoot? Here are some signs of depression in teens that you must not ignore.
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One tale-tale sign of depression is sadness that endures for more than two weeks. Sometimes parents are the last one to know that their child is going through depression. As a teacher, if you notice a student consistently being sad, you must inform his/ her parents regarding the issue. If the teen is not open with you, turn to friends or student care centres as they can be helpful in identifying the symptoms.
Anger Or Irritability
Sadness or withdrawal is not what a depression always look like. Depression has some classing disguise like an annoyance. As we know, depression comes with hopelessness, pain or exhaustion. Understandably, this makes the adolescent angrier, irritable or more impatient than usual.
Well, it is no surprise that teens often sound rebellious. It is obvious to show some emotional changes like anger and irritability while struggling to find their place amongst their peers. They can be sometimes grumpy and easily frustrated and need help with anger management. But if they seem overly irritable or they are prone to angry outbursts, it may be a cause for concern.
If a student seems to have given up the school work and keep saying that he/she is feeling low most of the time, it can be a sign of depression. When a teen talks about feeling hopeless or being misunderstood, it should be taken seriously. The comments of a depressed child may reflect a poor sense of self-worth or a total lack of hope. You must listen closely to what they’re actually saying.
Change In Habits
Sometimes you notice a student who used to be cheerful all time is not taking an interest in any conversation. Or you might observe that a sudden drop in grades of a good student. Well, these can be more than just a mood swing. Look for sudden changes in habit or sudden changes in weight or behaviour. In this case, you must have a friendly talk with the student to find what bothering him or her.
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Along with physical and emotional energy, depression can also drain the mental energy. As they are struggling with some issue, it might be difficult for them to concentrate on study. They have a hard time to pay attention in class and find it difficult to make a decision. Slow thinking and responding might indicate that it is taking longer for them to collect their thoughts. So instead of being mad at them, a teacher must try to figure out the issue.
Lack Of Participation In Activities
Another red flag for depression includes loss of interest in their favourite pastime. Lack of participation in extra–curricular activities like athletics, organizations and clubs they always love to do. While struggling with depression, adolescent cut out themselves from social activities. The hopelessness that comes along with depression might force the child to give up on school, activities, friends and other things that were important to them.
Depression causes poor self-esteem in some teens. They start disliking their appearance or feel unloved or unlovable. They tend to think negatively and are plagued by feelings of worthlessness which make them extremely vulnerable to criticism. Extreme sensitivity to criticism, rejection, and fear of failure are some of the warning signs of depression.
Loss of Appetite
A total lack of desire for food can be a symptom of depression. If even the favourite food of the teen fails to lure him/her, something is going on. Poor nutrition can make things go from bad to worse. Some teens even tend to overeat during the depression. So any sudden change in eating habits needs to be paid attention to in a serious way.
Lack of Communication
It is estimated that one in three children go through depression. So the fact is that even children are subjected to stresses just like the adolescents in a different form. They might find it hard to communicate effectively which leads them to behave this way. If the child is socially withdrawn, and apparently causes less emotional outbursts, It might mean that he’s struggling with feelings of emptiness and sadness.
Withdrawal From Friends
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There’s nothing wrong with wishing to have some alone time, but when it lasts for a longer time, it might be a problem. Maybe it is because nothing brings them joy or the fatigue making it hard for them to put on a happy face while being around people. Sometimes, depression makes the teens think that they are a burden to those around them. This is why they seek isolation and withdraw from friends and no longer wants to partake in activities they used to enjoy.
Depression can be damaging for the child when left untreated. So don’t underestimate the signs by misinterpreting that as a normal” adolescent behaviour. It is not only the sole responsibility of parents, but teachers must also contribute to handling the issue. You must encourage the anxious toddlers to talk to you about how they are feeling and should listen without judgment. Don’t make it fester but asking a lot of questions and bring up your concerns in a loving way. Ensure them that you are willing to offer whatever support they need.
That being said, you must also take steps to avoid such depression in the child. Encouraging the child to join a student care centre can help the child to foster positive relationships.