Teenagers may feel desperate, sad and worthless. They may withdraw from friends, find it difficult to concentrate at school and they may even be forgetful. The symptoms of depression might appear during teenage years and may cause changes in sleep patterns, eating habits and changes in weight. They might think of committing suicide and have symptoms doctors find difficult to explain. POSSIBLE REASONS FOR DEPRESSION Physical factors - Genes might play a role and the possibility of a chemical imbalance in the brain might even be a reason teenagers have depression. Other factors might be heart disease, hormones or drug abuse. Drug abuse do not only cause depression, it might even make it worse. Stress - A little bit of stress might not be bad for you, but too much stress can be bad physically and emotionally. This type of stress with hormone changes that usually takes place in teenagers, might lead to depression BUT the exact cause of depression is not really known and might even be due to a combination of factors. So what can we do to help our teenagers? TAKE CARE OF THE BODY AND MIND Depression are usually treated with medication and therapy. Illness might affect any part of your body or brain. What happens to the body have an effect on your mind and that is why you need to change your and your teenagers lifestyle. When suffering from depression you have to make sure you treat your body and mind well. Likewise, if your teenager suffer from depression, you need to make sure they treat their body and mind well. Encourage your child to eat healthy food, get enough sleep and exercise often. When exercising, chemicals are released that makes you feel better, give you more energy and let you sleep better. Encourage your child to try and figure out what it is that makes them feel depressed and decide on a plan of action. Encourage them to talk to someone they trust - a family member, teacher, friend. It might even help to write down their thoughts. WHAT CAN WE AS PARENTS DO? Parents have to realise that it is not easy for teenagers who are suffering from depression to say how or what they feel. They often do not understand what is happening to them and might not always realise that they are suffering from depression. Teenagers experience depression in a different way than grown-ups. Look out for changes in your child's behaviour, eating habits, moods, sleep patterns and relationships with other children and grown ups - especially if it continue for weeks. If you see any signs of suicide or hear your child talk about it, take it seriously and seek help. If you suspect you child is suffering from depression, seek help. Help your teenager to follow the doctors description and if there is no improvement, go back to the doctor. Keep to a routine where it comes to eat, sleep and exercising. Listen to your child and talk often. Help them understand that suffering from depression is nothing to be embarrassed about. Depression makes you feel lonely, worthless and self-concious and that is why you as parent need to constantly ensure your teenager of your love.
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