Don’t let your teen go undiagnosed by assuming they are just being a moody teenager
More and more adolescent and teenage boys and girls are suffering from some form of depression. Many parents mistake depression for sadness, moodiness, and pass it off as normal teen behavior. That mistake has led to an increase in teen drug addiction, mental breakdowns and suicide to name a few.
Teens And Mental Health
Teens suffering with mental, emotional and drug related issues must find the root cause to experience full recovery. In Los Angeles school district, suicide attempts have increased from a reported 225 in 2011 to over 5000 this year. There has been a substantial increase in the percentage of young people aged 12-20 who have reported having a major depressive episode (MDE). (An MDE is defined as a period of at least two weeks of low mood that is present in most situations. Symptoms include low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, and problems with sleep, energy and concentration.)
Despite the rise in teen depression, the study, which analyzed data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, reported that there isn’t an equal increase in mental health treatment for adolescents and young adults. Research shows this is an indication that there is a growing number of young people who are under-treated or not treated at all for their symptoms. Meanwhile, among those who did get help, treatment tended to be more intense, often involving specialized care by inpatient and outpatient providers and including prescription medications.
Demi Lovato recently released a documentary, Simply Complicated, about what led to her extreme addiction at such a young age. Demi was a child Disney star that quickly led to her fame and intensely successful musical career. But along that journey, Demi encountered what so many of your young kids, especially females, experience and that is bullying. Cyber-bullying is at the heart of so many of our girls feeling deep depression, cutting themselves, refusing to go to school, isolating themselves and turning to drugs and alcohol to numb their painful world. Demi was a victim of cruel girls passing around a petition at school for kids to sign stating Demi should just go kill herself. At that point, Demi left school. She spiraled into severe eating disorders from gorging on an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies to throwing up so often that only blood would come up. Demi has since been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder as well but she went undiagnosed for years. Her mom just thought she was being a normal kid. At the age of 18, Demi couldn’t go 30 minutes without cocaine. Even after she went in for her first rehab treatment, even with a sober life mentor that lived with her 24/7, she was drinking straight vodka at 9:00 in the morning while she threw up in the car on the way to the airport. She learned to fool everyone. She went through 20 sober life companions. She has to hit full rock bottom to begin her life of surrender. She may be a famous celebrity but she is just one more young tragedy that thankfully had people around her that loved her enough to leave her, tough love as we call it, and to stop turning away and enabling her deadly destructive behavior.
Our youth need strong, tough, loving families that are willing to force them to get the diagnosis, to get the treatment, to learn the way back to a healthy and happy life. To sit back and pretend that there is nothing wrong or actually being too lazy to deal with the overwhelming prospect of your child actually having depression, anxiety, eating disorders, drug addiction or one of the many things that are destroying our children, is to enable them to continue until it’s too late.
Our children live in a world full of negative and scary and destructive behaviors that they have access to through a dangerous addiction called social media. The comparative game, the intense and disturbing bullying, the access to horrific stories, lifestyles, lack of any kind of morals or character, and no balance of positive anywhere to be found. There is help. There are amazing places full of councilors and medical staff to get your child the help they need. Don’t turn a blind eye. Diagnosis is step one. Take that step out of love.