Since Matthew a grade 4 hurricane, maybe 5, many of our teenagers, especially girls, are experiencing clinical depression with anxiety. The community has rallied around the physical areas of depression and destruction of property, but no one appears to be cognizant of the needs of our teens.
The teenager can be an emotional roller coaster - with needs and moods that go up and down, from moment to moment, and from one day to the next. The social media, Facebook, Twitter, enables information to be available literally within seconds of their occurrence. But, however, thousands of teens experience lows that are more than just a phase, just a bad mood.
These sensitive individuals are suffering from a very real condition called Clinical Depression and Anxiety. The condition tends to interfere with: (1) normal daily life; (2) it can lead to suicidal thoughts; (3) it can affect normal behavior; (4) and it can have effects that last throughout their entire life.
WHY ARE TEENS AT RISK?
I myself was quite depressed at the effects that Hurricane Matthew had upon my clinic and my home. However, it was not until this morning that I began to consider the effects on my children, especially my teenage son.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers 14 to 19 and as we have seen in America this depression can go over to friends and family and if not addressed, some children will literally go crazy, and commit heinous acts of murder in their schools and classrooms. We all face times of stress, but teens especially who don’t face up to their stressful circumstances they can fall into clinical depression and anxiety.
THEY NEED HELP!
We as parents, some as teachers and pastors are very weak in recognizing or suspecting that our teenagers are suffering from depression and anxiety. The lack of family togetherness makes it almost impossible to recognize that the child is in a deep depression. It is important that parents, teachers, pastors, and all those who deal with teens come to recognize when a child is in need of help. Sometimes it is their colleagues who recognize the teen talking about violence or suicide.
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
These symptoms must last for more than two weeks to be clinical defined. We all have our low and high moments, however, when they last for more than 14 days they need to be recognized.
• Deep sadness or feelings of hopelessness
• Trouble concentrating or remembering
• Loss of pleasure or interest in activities that were once exciting, such as sports or playing music.
• Restlessness, such as acting up in class
• Avoiding friends and family
• Difficulty falling and staying asleep
• Sharp changes in appetite or weight
• Anxiety and irritability
• Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
• Negative views of life and the world
• Talk about death or suicide
The traditional approach to clinical depression and anxiety has been medication; particularly drugs like Paxil. But more recently it has been found that the very usage of certain medications like Paxil results in suicidal thoughts and violent actions and as untoward effects of the drug. Therefore I am suggesting some non-drug treatments for the teen who is depressed or in a clinically anxiety state.
(1) Hypnosis - This has been a well-known treatment for depression and anxiety but it is often overlooked by the psychiatrist and regular medical physician.
(2) Talk therapy - This often is done in the domain of the psychologist not the psychiatrist. However, it is my feeling that it might be best done within the family circle with mother and father being quite sympathetic to the teen they thought they knew.
(3) Prayer and Praise - It was Harvard University that did a study which showed quite clearly that prayer and praise lowered blood pressure and would also assist in anxiety and depression, especially among teenagers. So get that troubled teen into a regular church and see that they participate in the prayer and praise ministry.
(4) Reading Holy Scriptures - The Torah, the Holy Quaran, and the Holy Bible, Douai version, are all blessed with literature from wise men like Solomon and his father David, whose writings are filled with spiritual and earthly messages that would lift the spirit of all who read them on a regular basis. My own great-grandfather Rev. Panza, made me read the scriptures every evening for one hour, and I am convince that this has kept me in a high and happy mood, blessed with a smile at all times.
We must all join in the process of recognizing that our teenagers have suffered mental trauma during this most powerful Category 4 Hurricane Matthew. But we are fortunate that there are four books of the Gospels, which means ‘Good news,’ which starts with Matthew, Luke and John.
So the same name Matthew, which might have been the source of teenagers’ depression and anxiety may also be a source of solution. A non-drug solution to their post traumatic syndrome (PTS) of anxiety and depression. Talk with your teen. You may not have been listening.
Published Tuesday, November 15, 2016