Life Of Teens In Covid-19 Times
How to recognize is your teen is affected by a mood changes or something more serious?
Statistics indicate that depression is among the most common mental health disorders, affecting millions of people of all ages from around the world. It’ll get worse with the Covid-19 pandemic. The saddest part is that the younger generation seems to be the most vulnerable group. Often confused with moodiness and ‘typical adolescent behavior’ depression can easily pass unnoticed. Therefore, it is of essence important for you as a parent be able to recognize when it’s about mood swing and when you can be sure that it is something more serious.
Change in mood
Let me first touch upon the mood swing that can affect not only your teens but you and me as well in such a challenging time we are witnessing altogether. Although the change in mood seem to come out of nowhere, please know that any shift in your teen mood is triggered by a specific factor. These factors that impact your mood could be psychological, environmental (argument with your mom) or biological (stomach pain) impact your mood.
Change in mood or mood swings are sudden changes in your emotional state. From a biological perspective, factors like diet, exercise, hormones, or sleep can significantly influence our day-to-day mood. As for psychological and environmental factors, problems at work, toxic relationships, traumatic events, can easily trigger all sorts of negative emotions that can ruin our mood. Nevertheless, the real question is, how often do we experience mood swings? And more importantly, how long does a ‘bad’ mood last?
We all go through a wide array of emotions that can influence their overall sense of well-being. Let’s say that mood swings are relatively OK to a limited extend though. However, if your overall mood tends to fluctuate for no apparent reason, you might want to look into this problem.
Emotions vs. Mood
What is important for you to be able to distinguish is a difference between emotions vs. mood. While emotions are sensations that drive our decisions, actions, and behavior, the term mood describes our level of mental energy at a specific moment. In a way, we could argue that what we describe as ‘good mood’ is a mix of positive emotions -love, gratitude, happiness, that generate a sense of excitement and readiness.
On the other hand, a ‘bad mood’ is the result of negative emotions – sadness, guilt, shame, disgust that drain our energy and often push us towards isolation and idleness.
Generally speaking mood swings are relatively OK and harmless, however, there are times when abrupt changes in mood may point towards problems (depression, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder).
Understanding your teen emotional reaction
Pay attention to what extent your teen’s mood swings impact their daily activities. Since our overall mood is determined by the emotions that we experience as a result of various factors, understanding your teen’s emotional reactions is one way to understand change in mood. It takes time, so be patient and take action now because mood swings can indicate the presence of a serious emotional problem. In my experience as a Health Counselor and Coach, getting a thorough evaluation from mental health professional is the safest way to get a clear picture of what you’re going through.
The bottom line – Being able to notice and understand how your teen emotional state influences their everyday life might be an answer and the key difference between normal and abnormal mood change.If you need to seek help for a support, please do. Do not wait for too long.
Often confused with mood swings and ‘typical adolescent behavior’ depression can easily pass unnoticed. As adults and especially as parents, it’s somewhat difficult to accept that our teenage child might experience something as unpleasant and burdensome as depression.
Teenage depression differs from sadness and other ‘troubling’ emotions that a growing adolescent might experience as a result of puberty. But just because a child seems sad and ‘depressed’ does not necessarily mean he/she is suffering from a depressive episode. However, when the sadness, hopelessness, and lack of energy become disturbing enough to interfere with family life, social activities, and school, perhaps it’s time to consult a medical doctor.
The most frequent risk factors of teen depression
Most experts agree this condition results from a mix of genetic, biological, and environmental factors. Actually no one can pinpoint the exact cause of this mood disorder. What we do know for sure is that environmental factors play a huge role in the onset of depression. From ‘toxic’ family interactions or the death of a loved one to lack of social interactions and bullying, countless factors could trigger depressive episodes. Since it’s impossible to control every aspect of our environment, what you as a parent can do?
You can do many things. You can be:
Social support plays an important role in dealing with depression, anxiety, and many other mood disorders. Knowing there’s someone there who’s emotionally available and understands what you’re going through can do wonders for your overall sense of well-being. In the case of teenage depression, social support doesn’t always come that easily, mainly because teens aren’t too keen on sharing their feelings. And that’s why, parents, friends, colleagues, and loved ones should be the first to intervene by offering emotional support.
… Emotionally available
Being emotionally available allows you to understand what someone dealing with depression is going through. By making yourself available and lending an empathic ear, you create a safe space where the other person feels comfortable enough to ‘open up.’In fact, empathy and emotional connectedness are some of the key ‘tools’ that mental health professionals use to cultivate therapeutic alliance and help their patients overcome mood disorders.
… Smart and using online resources when investigating
If you have a teenager or a friend who you believe might be dealing with depression, make sure you do your part of work in terms of looking into relevant information that can help you to understand the situation better. We are blessed with the Internet that provides plenty of valuable resources that you can use to educate yourself on any given topic or health issue. Furthermore, you can even contact organisations specialized in counselling for people who wish to support a friend or relative who’s dealing with depression.The bottom line – explore for more information before you take action and decide to help someone with depression.
Emotional wounds don’t heal overnight. It takes courage and time to admit you have a problem, ask for help, and address your problems. For a concerned parent being patient might prove to be challenging. You love your child, and you want to see her happy and healthy as soon as possible. If your teenager is dealing with depression, don’t put extra pressure on her by going from one specialist to another and experimenting with all sorts of “alternative” treatments, just because you want to rediscover the real them as soon as possible. Healing takes time and rushing this delicate process will only make things worse.
…Pro-active – consult professional
For a teen dealing with depression, talking to a therapist might be a source of discomfort. Since teenagers are generally preoccupied with their image, the mere thought of seeing a psychologist or taking medication can be enough to cause more anxiety symptoms. Unfortunately, we’re living in a world where people continue to be stigmatized and marginalized because of their mental health issues. Hence, it’s up to us, – the society, to create an environment where teenage boys and girls can freely talk about their problems without being afraid their peers might ridicule or seclude them.