Teen Depression — Hope and Healing




        By Gary E. Nelson,  published by Cascade Books


            Some studies list suicide as the number two cause of death of teenagers in our society.  Since depression and related illnesses are the driving forces behind most suicides, it’s easy to see why I call them potential killers. The number one killer of teens is the automobile crash, and, since alcohol and drugs are often involved, it’s possible depression is closer to the top of the “killer of teens list” in our country. There’s a connection between the alcohol, drugs, car crashes, and depression.

            Many teens suffering from depression and related illnesses use alcohol and drugs to block the pain. We call this “self medicating.” Teens killed in car crashes involving alcohol or other drugs may have been self-medicating. Therefore, it’s easy to see why depression may be closer to the number one spot on the “killer of teens list.”

            Depression doesn’t always kill. The illness often steals life from teenagers, their families, and friends in many different ways. Relationships are severely damaged or lost. Academic performance is often dramatically stunted. Participation in meaningful activities becomes sporadic. When this thief is at work, the enjoyment of life itself is sucked out of the afflicted teen.

            These killers and thieves may claim the top spots on many lists, but amazingly, they are often missed or dismissed by parents and other adults who make comments like, “He’s just being an obnoxious teen,” or, “It’s just that teenage, stuff. I hope we can endure it until she grows out of it.” Even worse is: “He’s just become a real troublemaker!”

As adults and parents today, we rely too heavily on the questionable explanation that problematic teen behavior is simply a stage of life. We need to be open to the possibility the conduct we write off, as “teens just being teens” is, in fact, an early warning sign of a serious illness, a sickness that could threaten the teen’s life.

            Teens fighting these illnesses need our understanding, patience, prayers, and help. They don’t want to be in our faces, and most aren’t really troublemakers. These afflicted teens are being driven by something that makes them act in ways that hurt themselves and those around them. That “something” is what we call depression and related illnesses like anxiety, bipolar disorder, or others.

Used with permission from Cascade Books, a division of Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, Oregon.

There is hope and healing available for depression and related illnesses like anxiety and bipolar disorder!  There is light at the end of the tunnel!  For more information check out my website at http://www.survivingteendepression.com




~ by revgenelson on July 1, 2008.

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