Perhaps the most devastating blow on human health has been caused by modern lifestyles. What is more alarming is that changes in society and attitudes towards issues like success have had a greatly negative impact on our children. There are now more instances of teen depression than ever before.
Besides primary needs of food, clothing and shelter, humans have emotional needs that must also be met. In traditional communities, these basic needs were met naturally. Many traditional societies had a perfect system in place for providing community support to children, when parents were too busy or out to work for survival. With less community and familial support, combined with the mad rush to succeed in material terms at all costs, the emotional needs of children are often neglected. Child depression is a natural fall out from such indifference, and ignorance of the issue has now become a reality that modern society has to grapple with.
Sometimes, behavioral changes in a teenager are ignored, as parents feel that a problem child is acting out with a purpose of gaining attention or making a statement. Such instances can often be misunderstood, and the fact that a child is suffering from teen depression can be missed. Teen depression is a legitimate concern and a condition that is as important as any other physical ailment. It has serious consequences and is prone to recur and continue into adult life. Some of the immediate behavioral changes that you may see in your child if he/she is prone to depression are:
* Recreational Drugs - Where parental support is not forthcoming, teens normally tend to look for relief from prolonged sadness and anxiety from inappropriate sources. Substance abuse like drugs and alcohol are common among depressed teens.
* Lack of Confidence - Lack of self esteem is a prominent sign of depression. It can lead to an increase in negative feelings and self-criticism.
* Eating Disorders - Depression can lead to binge eating, obsessive dieting, anorexia (prolonged eating disorder due to loss of appetite) or bulimia (guilt and self condemnation after binge eating).
* Low Academic Performance - Low grades in school are not only a sign of depression but also a result of teen depression.
* Behavioral Changes - Depression often leads teenagers to indulge in risky activities that cause injury or death. Teenagers tend to come to terms with depression by self-inflicted. Cutting, burning and banging the head against walls are common examples.
* Decisions - It becomes increasingly difficult for depressed teenagers to handle everyday decisions and pressures.
* Suicide - Suicide is the ultimate effect of a prolonged feeling of despondency. By the time depression leads to a suicidal tendency, the child has probably woven a web of hopelessness that refuses to go away. Unable to get out of it, the only solution that comes to mind is that of ending life. The first indication that suicide is being contemplated comes from talks of death. Immediate teen depression help should be sought even at the slightest hint.
Modern society has evolved in a way that individualism has gained precedence over everything else. It has become literally impossible for people to understand the importance of the wider community. It is important to evaluate our personal situations, and be sure to provide necessary emotional support for our children.
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Tess Thompson is a Homeopathic Practitioner, Reflexologist, Certified Aromatherapist, and Herbalist who contributes regularly to Native Remedies, where you can find Guaranteed, Natural, Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies for a myriad of health conditions including teen depression.
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