Teenage Depression and Anxiety

Teen angst -488360124The term “teen angst” is synonymous with the emotional changes that adolescents experience. It is commonly used to describe unpredictable mood swings and at times unexplained changes in behaviors displayed by adolescents.

Adolescent or teen angst is defined as an “acute feeling of anxiety or apprehension that is often accompanied by depression.”(www.Medscape.com). Occasional bad moods, irritability or periods of sadness are common and expected behaviors. However, if they persist for an extended period of time, it can be an indication that your child is experiencing more than the typical teen strife.  They may be exhibiting symptoms of a serious mental health issue such as depression or anxiety.

It is estimated that one in eight teenagers suffer from depression or anxiety and in some cases both disorders.  Many of these behaviors are dismissed or overlooked as moodiness.   This is concerning because if left untreated depression or anxiety can lead to highly destructive actions such as, drug abuse, self-mutilation, or in extreme situations- suicide.

There are several signs that may present themselves that can help parents recognize if their child is suffering from a depression or anxiety disorder. Some of which are:

  • Frequent sadness or crying
  • Persistent boredom or the inability to enjoy activities
  • Increased hostility, anger or irritability
  • Frequent absences from school or extracurricular activities they once enjoyed
  • Extreme fear of rejection or failure
  • Chronic fatigue or tiredness
  • Frequent complaints about headaches and stomach aches, without real cause for illness
  • Poor concentration
  • Constantly speaking about death or suicide
  • Persistent social isolation or difficulty with relationships
  • Major changes in eating or sleeping patterns

If your child is displaying any of these signs, it is recommended that you have a non-judgmental conversation with them.  Let them know that you have observed atypical behaviors and that you are concerned.  Encourage them to open up.  If they are uncomfortable speaking to you about what they are experiencing, offer support gand seek the help of a mental health professional.

For more information of adolescent depression or anxiety or to speak with a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital, please call  718-206-7135.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.