Depression among teenagers has continued to be a common health concern for parents, doctors, and educators. As the parent of a teenager, if you find that your teen is showing signs of depression, it is important to seek out mental health services in an effort to negate the long term effects.
For some teenagers, however, the type of depression is often challenging to diagnose. With many forms of depression seen in teenagers, it is important that your teen obtains the right diagnosis so as to ensure the proper treatment is given. In some teenagers, there is a risk for a type of depression known as psychotic depression which carries one of the highest levels of suicide rates. Understanding what the symptoms of this form of depression may be is important to your child’s long term health.
Psychotic depression is often under diagnosed and not correctly treated in teenagers. In teenagers who suffer from this form of depression, there is often an initial onset of poor decision making coupled with low self esteem. When these types of behaviors begin, parents simply dismiss the behavior as related to the fluctuations and misdeeds adolescents often make. But, in teenagers who are suffering from psychotic depression, these behaviors are only the beginning of increasingly more complex problems.
As psychotic depression advances, and continues to be untreated, your teen will often begin to develop a sense of mental confusion. Depressive symptoms often manifest at this stage and your teenager will typically begin to hear voices and may even have hallucinations. Unlike schizophrenia, however, these hallucinations or auditory voices will often be negative, frightening, and even promote adverse behaviors. It is important, therefore, that if you notice your teenager acting out, these symptoms should be addressed by a mental health professional.
Treating for psychotic depression often encompasses a combination of anti-psychotic medications as well as anti-depression medications. Typically, psychotherapy is not effective for this type of mental health complication. When medications do not prove effective, then use of electro-convulsant therapy may also be indicated.
Psychotic depression is a mental health complication that affects teenagers and adults alike. For many teens, this form of mental health complication can be treated but the key to optimal mental health lies early diagnosis and treatment. If your teen is showing signs of hallucinations or other types of chronic depression, it is important to seek out treatment and ask about the possible implications of psychotic depression.
Sources: Psychotic Depression, by Conrad Swartz, pp. 101-104.