The teenage years are some of the most confusing and distressing years of our lives—anyone who has gone through it knows this. During adolescence, we shape ourselves and form values that will stay with us through the rest of our lives; this process can be pretty intense. Every minor drama can feel like the apocalypse coming down on your own personal head. Mood swings in teens are a regular part of adolescence because of hormones and high school, but only to a point.
When mood swings in teens begin to happen too often, or with a level of unsettling intensity, it’s possible they’re signaling a much deeper issue—an issue like depression.
Mood swings in teens and depression
For parents, it can be difficult to discern the difference between regular mood swings in teens and mood swings signaling possible depression. It’s not like the doctor hands you a handbook containing everything you’d ever need to know as a parent when you leave the hospital with your newborn—that would be too easy. We do have the internet and access to tons of medical research, though, which can definitely aid a parent in identifying problematic mood swings in teens.
Difference between regular mood swings and signs of depression
According to Dr. Nadja N. Reilly, a psychologist and director of the Swensrud Depression Prevention Initiative at Clients’s Hospital Boston, there are a few clear distinctions between regular mood swings in teens and problematic ones.
- Duration: If these mood swings have been happening pretty often (at least once a day) for two weeks or more, Dr. Reilly says it may be depression. If this has happened for this long, it’s better to be safe and seek out a professional for help than to let it progress and possibly worsen.
- Severity: Depression can manifest as mood swings in teens, changes in emotions (insecurity, lonely), behaviors (suddenly taking drugs, acting out, withdrawing), and thoughts (suicidal thoughts, worthlessness). If these are all happening in a noticeable and intense way, your teen may be struggling with something serious.
- Settings: Where is your teen having their issues? Is it everywhere or is it just at school? These are important things to note because it can mean the difference between feelings about a place and an actual disorder.
If you believe your child may be struggling with more than just mood swings in teens, it’s critical to seek out professional help for further guidance.
blueFire Wilderness can help your family
blueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program for teens, ages 11 to 17, grappling with depression, bullying, anxiety, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems. It’s not unusual for mood swings in teens to be a symptom of something deeper in our students. We understand that this is a difficult and confusing time for the whole family, but we’re here to guide you through it. At blueFire, we strive to help each client find their inner confidence and succeed through our wilderness treatment for struggling teens.
For more information about treating mood swings in teens & depression at blueFire Wilderness, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today.