Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is teen depression more common than adult depression?"
It seems like every teenager is very depressed. What causes this? How can I make sure my teenager is happy and healthy?
Being a teenager is a very difficult time socially and psychologically. Teenagers are dependent but are learning to negotiate independence, autonomy, and their value systems. Because of this there are natural tensions that can develop, and some conflict between parents and their teenage children is probably inevitable. Sometimes this dynamic can be interpreted by the parent as depression or other symptoms. In this case it is important to keep the lines of communication open. Make sure that your child knows that you are available to talk to them about anything they want at anytime they need. Ask open ended question that value your teenager's input. Don't be discouraged if they do not respond every time as you would like. At the same time, make sure that if you think there is a real problem with depression, anxiety, or another mood symptom that you talk with your child's pediatrician about this. Mood problems in teenagers are very real, and they tend to be underdiagnosed. If your child is having significant trouble making friends, completing school work, or if they have not interest in anything, then these may be warning symptoms, and your child's doctor will help you sort it out.
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