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Teen angst: Red flag or shades of blue?

Monday, August 15, 2016

The teenage years are tough – just ask any parent. Temporary depression and periods of anxiety are common among teenagers. And, it may not be easy for a parent to distinguish between typical teen moodiness and something more serious.

Unfortunately, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health, half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and despite effective treatments, there are often long delays between the first warning signs and when individuals receive treatment.

If you are concerned about your teen’s emotional state or behavior, talk with their pediatrician or consult a mental health professional.

According to Nadjeh Awadallah, Ed.D., LCPC, community liaison, Linden Oaks Behavioral Health at NCH, if your teen shows some signs of depression or anxiety, it’s also important to consider:

  • How long the depression or anxiety lasts
  • The intensity of the periods of depression or anxiety
  • Whether the depression or anxiety occurs in all situations or just at home

10 warning signs of depression

  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Feelings of agitation, irritability, hostility or anger
  • Withdrawal from social interactions or from family
  • Diminished interest in doing things they previously enjoyed
  • Declining school performance
  • Changes in appetite or sleeping habits
  • Unexplained physical aches, pains or nausea
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

10 warning signs of anxiety

  • Excessive worry
  • Irrational view of problems
  • Restlessness, jitteriness or jumpiness
  • Trouble sleeping or falling asleep
  • Headaches or muscle pain
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficulty starting tasks or lack of focus
  • Nausea or fatigue
  • Frequent requests to go to the bathroom
  • Declined interest in social activities

NCH’s Behavioral Health Services provides resources and support for anxiety and depression. To learn more about your risk, take NCH’s anonymous online assessments for anxiety and depression or call Behavioral Health Services at 847-HEALING.

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