Book Excerpt : Detecting Depression in Your Teenager

Thursday, July 30, 2009

by Herbert P. Goodheart M.D.

Book Excerpt : Detecting Depression in Your Teenager

It's very normal for people with severe acne to feel down and despondent; even mild acne can give them the blues. However, if your child is feeling unhappy more often and doesn't seem to enjoy his/her usual activities anymore, you need to consider the possibility that your child may be suffering from depression.

Determining if a teenager is depressed can be a very tricky undertaking. Dramatic physical and mental changes seem to take place almost overnight and it sometimes seems hard to tell the "normal" from the "abnormal."

Depression has become a more commonly recognized diagnosis in adolescents than it had been in the past. Parents should look for signs of depression in adolescents and they should be dealt with in a serious manner and not just passed off as "growing pains" or the normal consequence of adolescence. If you observe some of the signs or behaviors listed below, they may be indicators of depression, although they're not always diagnostic of teen depression, they may be a signs of other psychological, social, family, or school problems:
  • Increased fatigue, low energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, anxiety, and guilt
  • Loss of enjoyment in things that previously gave pleasure
  • Irritability, anger, or aggressiveness
  • Sleep disturbances such as staying awake at night and sleeping during the day
  • Social isolation, withdrawal from family and friends
  • Loss of interest in food or compulsive overeating that results in rapid weight loss or gain
  • Lots of new physical complaints such as headaches, stomach aches, low back pain, or excessive fatigue
  • A sudden drop in grades
  • Unusual rebellious behavior, or cutting school
  • Use of alcohol or drugs
  • Promiscuous sexual activity
  • A preoccupation with death and dying
  • Suicidal thoughts
If one or more of these descriptions rings a bell, talk to your child's pediatrician or other health care provider. Strong suicidal thoughts are an emergency and call for immediate action. Don't go it alone!

©2009 Herbert P. Goodheart, M.D., author of Acne For Dummies

Author Bio
Herbert P. Goodheart, M.D., of New York, NY, author of Acne For Dummies, is a practicing dermatologist who also teaches at the Mount Sinai College of Medicine. He is the author of a highly regarded dermatology textbook. For more information please visit
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