Adolescence is a period of drastic change that occurs as young teens grow into adults. Part of being a parent is to help guide them through this difficult time. Without a support system, teens can find themselves in unhealthy situations that could affect them for the rest of their lives.
It’s unfortunately easy for teens to fall into downward spirals of emotion. This can often lead to cases of depression. It is estimated that 20% of teens will experience depression at some point before reaching adulthood. And while depression is in and of itself a terribly difficult thing to deal with, it is only the beginning of the consequences that can stem from not neglecting your communication with teenagers.
Here are a few of the more serious pitfalls of anxiety and depression in teens:
- Eating disorders: Adolescents are the most susceptible age group to body dysmorphic disorders (BDD) and, in turn, eating disorders. Both their peers and the media put a ton of pressure on kids to fit the mold of what a “popular” student should look. Consequently, some teens will go to dangerous lengths to reach that image. Whether it anorexia or bulimia, eating disorders can do long-lasting physical and emotional damage.
- Drug abuse: Substance abuse is an increasingly large problem amongst teenagers. Many teens dealing with depression are desperate for an escape or for some way to numb themselves from the anxieties of the outside world.
With easier access to drugs, many teenagers are using these vices at a younger age. As many as 15,006 teens will use drugs for the first time just in the next 24 hours. Beyond offering emotional support, even just talking to teenagers about the dangers of substance abuse could have a lasting impact on their well-being.
- Suicide: This is obviously the most dangerous result of teenage depression, and unfortunately, it’s seen far too often. Depression increases teenagers’ risk of attempting suicide by 12 times. While many attempted suicides are simply cries for help, it makes them no less dangerous.
Unlike eating disorders and drug abuse, there are no obvious physical signs or discrepancies in normal teenage behaviors that could indicate one might be dealing with suicidal thoughts. Because of this, the only way to ensure a healthy state of mind is openly communicating with teenagers in a manner they feel comfortable with.
Everyone wants to be understood and wants the support of those around them whether they know it yet or not. Take some time to understand your teenager. Who knows, it could end up saving their life.