Depression in teens is not a joke or “just a phase”. Even though it may seem like the issue is less serious than substance abuse, for example, in truth, depression not only increases the risk of dangerous behaviors and self-medication, but can take a physical toll on the body. As a matter of fact, depression in teens, if not dealt with early on, can even cause life-long issues.

Why so Sad?

Depression in teens is not uncommon – some 2.8 million teenagers had a major depressive episode in the past year. The most important thing to remember is that it’s nobody’s fault. Depression can happen to anyone, with reason or without. As a parent, there are several behaviors to watch for in your child that may indicate they are depressed.

Everyone has down days, but if a difficult period lasts longer than two weeks, it is worth taking note of. Depression in teens often manifests itself not only in sadness, but in guilt, irritability, low self-esteem, and overreacting to criticism. Impaired school performance, forgetfulness, boredom, apathy, as well as changes in eating or sleeping patterns are also potential indicators of depression in teens.

While many adults tend to shut themselves away when depressed, a teen may not withdraw completely. Depression in teens can cause changes in friend groups and can sometimes lead to substance abuse.

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

It is hard for a parent to see their child suffering; however, a few steps can be taken to ease the pain. Although a healthy lifestyle alone is not enough to cure depression, keeping a healthy routine can make the worst times manageable. Exercise, a balanced diet, and regular sleep can all contribute to your teen feeling better.

If matters get out of hand – or you suspect your child could be a danger to themselves or others – it is time to consider professional help.

Asheville Academy for Girls can help

If your middle school aged daughter is struggling with depression, consider sending her to a nurturing therapeutic boarding school like Asheville Academy for Girls. Asheville Academy for Girls offers a comprehensive treatment program, accredited academics, and a beautiful, safe campus for young girls ages 10-14 struggling with emotional and behavioral issues.

For more information about Asheville Academy for Girls, please call 800.264.8709 .