Slide 1 of 17
Tips for parents
The teenage years are notoriously turbulent. Adolescents are establishing their own identities, doing more things independently, trying out different roles, taking more risks socially, and possibly experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and all this can come with emotional costs.
So it can be complicated to tell the difference between the typical turmoil of a teenager, and a depressed teen.
"It's difficult for parents to recognize depression in teens, since kids in this age group can have more emotional highs and lows, and they also tend to isolate themselves more," said Dr. Gene Beresin, executive director of the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
But depression can take a toll on teens. It typically first strikes in late adolescence, some time between ages 15 and 19, Beresin said.
In early adolescence, boys and girls are equally affected by depression. But after puberty, girls are about twice as likely as boys to become depressed, and this ratio persists into adulthood, according to Beresin.
Exactly why is unclear, he said, but it's likely a combination of genetic vulnerability as well as hormonal and socialization factors, including that girls tend to be more sensitive to changes in relationships, and also more prone to anxiety.
The good news for mom and dad is that "a secure, warm, loving relationship with a parent can be a protective factor against depression, especially for girls," Beresin said. [10 Facts Every Parent Should Know About Their Teen's Brain]
Here are his eight tips for parents whose teens may be depressed.
Observe changes in your kidsSlide 2 of 17
Observe changes in your kidsSlide 3 of 17
Notice patternsSlide 4 of 17
Notice patternsSlide 5 of 17
Get outside informationSlide 6 of 17
Get outside informationSlide 7 of 17
Talk with your kidsSlide 8 of 17