It’s a well-known fact that during puberty your child will experience a large surge of hormones, which leads to a variety of intense and unpredictable moods. A term known as “doom and gloom” is said to be a normal part of teenage development, whereby hormone fluctuation causes them to have low mood, disrupted sleep and low energy levels. The difficulty for parents is recognising the difference between “doom and gloom” and clinical depression, as many of the symptoms are the same.
It is difficult to separate the symptoms but typically clinical depression will present as a longer lasting low mood (longer than 2 weeks); be more likely if you have a family history of depression; present if your teenager is experiencing very low self esteem and his behaviour is dangerous or riskier than usual.
Depression is also more likely in certain personality types, for example those who seek perfection or have very high standards, or those that do not communicate well and bottle everything up.
It is important to not underestimate your parental intuition when assessing your teenager’s behaviour. You may know if something is just “not right” and be able to recognise that its more than just teenager moodiness. If this is the case, or you are unsure, it is important to seek professional help from your local GP who will make an assessment and put a mental healthcare plan in place.
Depression can be caused by many different factors, including heredity, biochemical imbalances in the brain, personal and work-related stress, bereavement, trauma or long term personality traits. Not all people who feel sad are necessarily depressed and the severity and frequency of symptoms will vary from one individual to the next.
How a Psychologist can help?
The teenage years can be a challenging time for parent and child and communication may be broken. A psychologist can assist teens with a range of concerns from mood disorders like anxiety and depression through to social and emotional challenges, equipping them with practical coping strategies for every day life. We have Clinical Psychologists at Newmarket and Morningside who specialise in adolescent counselling, including, Dr Mark Wetton, Miranda Mullins, Dr Stan Steindl (16+) Cathy Dart and Kylie Layton.