Six months ago, 17-year-old *Katie became quieter at school, withdrawing from friends for fear of saying the wrong thing and stumbling over her words. These feelings developed into depression with feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, and have stunted her social development. Twenty-year-old *Samuel was a straight-A college student until last fall when the stress of managing his studies, work, friends and family became intense and uncontrollable. Feelings of anxiety overwhelmed him frequently. Samuel found himself perpetually exhausted and struggling to concentrate until it became necessary for him to take a leave of absence from the University. While these individuals are now receiving needed help, they are just two of many cases in which early intervention may have provided a decrease in painful life experiences.
If your child displays signs of depression or signs of anxiety, early intervention is key in ensuring that he or she learns to heal, and how to deal with depression or anxiety. Seeing your child suffer is never easy, but when your son or daughter is anxious or depressed, the desire to ease their suffering is not the only reason to seek professional help from an expert who knows how to treat depression. The symptoms that accompany anxiety and depression can lead to further complications. For example:
- Withdrawal from others could be detrimental to your child’s social skill development
- The deficits in social skill development can also be detrimental to your child’s self-confidence
- Lowered energy/motivation and poor concentration could lead to problems in school for your child.
While the effects of depression or anxiety on your child’s academic engagement is often a high concern for parents, their social development is also essential. Deficits in social learning can cause difficulties in your child relating to others (especially peers and family members) and increase their feeling of loneliness, helplessness, and hopelessness. Early intervention is important to help your son or daughter learn effective and healthy steps for overcoming anxiety or depression. A credible mental health professional who knows how to treat depression and/or anxiety will be able to help your child learn key coping strategies.
Early Intervention and Learning How to Deal with Depression and Anxiety
Early intervention for depression is key, as “Adolescents with a duration of the depressive episode of two years or greater had significantly higher rates of suicidal ideation and intent, lethality, and a number of suicide attempts than youngsters with depressive episodes of shorter duration.” (Ryan, N. D., Puig-Antich, J., Ambrosini, P., Rabinovich, H., Robinson, D., Nelson, B.,& Twomey, J. 1987) As mentioned in our previous blog post, there is an even higher rate of depression and anxiety in teenage girls (14 to 20 percent of teenage girls experiences a mood disorder). Parents should keep an eye out for red flag signs of depression or anxiety, especially if their child is more at-risk, due to age, gender, or family history of anxiety and/or depression.
Anxiety is not an uncommon issue for teens and young adults people to face; an estimated 8 percent of teens, 13 through 18, experience an anxiety disorder. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is a common occurrence in young adults as well, “Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems on college campuses. Forty million U.S. adults suffer from an anxiety disorder, and 75 percent of them experience their first episode of anxiety by age 22.”
Early intervention is key to helping your son or daughter with his or her anxiety. “Longitudinal studies are showing children who have experienced high levels of anxiety symptoms at one point in life are likely to experience high levels of depression symptoms at later times in life.” (Cole, Peek, Truglio, Seroczynski, 1998). As such, parents should watch for signs of both anxiety and depression in their child over time.
If you have concerns about your child, talking to an expert who knows how to treat depression and anxiety is important to help your child learn how to deal with depression and/or anxiety. To learn more about how to help your child with depression or anxiety, download our white paper, Depression and Anxiety in Teens and Young Adults below.
Cole, Peek, Truglio, Seroczynski, 1998
Ryan, N. D., Puig-Antich, J., Ambrosini, P., Rabinovich, H., Robinson, D., Nelson, B.,& Twomey, J. 1987
*Names have been changed to protect students’ identities.