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Down Time: Teens and Depression

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Depression Warning Signs

A child who shows any of these symptoms consistently for two weeks or more should see a mental health professional specializing in adolescents as soon as possible.

  • Comments about feeling hopeless
  • Persistent boredom or low energy
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
  • Increased irritability, anger or hostility
  • Repeated complaints of ailments such as headaches and stomachaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Frequent sadness or crying
  • Serious drop in grades at school
  • Threats of running away from home
  • Major changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Mentions of suicide or other self-destructive acts

Facebook Depression

When the journal Pediatrics reported last spring that there might be a connection between intense Internet use and teen mental disorders, the term "Facebook depression" went viral. But is it real? "I don't think so," says Sharon Chirban, Ph.D., a child psychologist at Children's Hospital in Boston. "Facebook is just another type of social interaction that highlights something already there." She does advise unplugging your child for a few days if social networking seems to trigger negative emotions. "Time away from the computer lets her follow interests and nurture in-person relationships," she says, "and that will help her feel better about herself."

Originally published in the September 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.


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