22 Jan Does my teen have depression?
How can you be sure your teen has depression? Is it normal hormonal changes or something more?
The physical changes that occur during puberty, burgeoning sexuality and awareness of changing social roles and expectations can all influence mood. Adolescence is a time of rapid growth, major hormonal shifts as well as social reorientation and redesign of neural pathways.
In this light a degree of moodiness is to be expected. Even extreme shifs of emotions could be just part of your child’s attempts to regain equilibrium. It is during this phase that you will really reap the benefits of all the effort you put into a strong, connected relationship with your child. If your child is still able to confide in you from time to time you can be reassured. Every teenager will retreat into themselves to some degree. What you strive for as a parent in the years preceding, is sufficient trust and hope that in a time of crisis your child will confide in you.
Mild depression and anxiety in teenagers can present as irritability or even boredom. Please check the Royal Children’s Hospital website for a full list of symptoms and if in doubt always consult your G.P.
Can natural medicine benefit my teen?
In short, yes. Given the changes that are occurring, adolescence is a time of high nutritional demand. This unfortunately coincides with a time of high peer pressure and a desire for breaking routines and healthy eating patterns often go out the window. Insufficient levels of important minerals in the diet may be the result. A naturopathic consultation will assess your teens diet as well as identify symptoms of mineral and nutrient deficiency. If hormonal change is a factor in mood swings this can be supported through diet, nutritional supplements and herbal tonics.
What can I do to encourage my teen to eat healthier foods?
- Find out what your child already knows about healthy eating and empower them to make good choices more often.
- Teach them to cook.
- Make an appointment with a naturopath.
- Give fast and easy but healthy food alternatives.
- Protein smoothies are my first recommendation for a teenager. They tick all the boxes. They are easy to make, delicious, high in protein for growing bodies and brains as well as containing essential minerals and vitamins.
- Cereal. Everyone knows that cereal out of the box is the staple of many teenager’s diets. So negotiate with your teen to replace that cereal box with a nutrient packed alternative. Make your own super healthy muesli by mixing rolled oats, almonds, pumpkin kernals and sultanas or dates. You can chop the nuts, seeds and dried fruit in your food processor to make them easier to chew and digest.
You can feel encouraged that there are a few easy steps you can take to make a positive difference for your child. Just make sure you seek support when you or your child, need it.
If you would like some support for your teen, phone reception on 9339 1999 and make an appointment with NatMed naturopath Eloise Charleson.