Adolescent Depression: Recognizing the Signs

It’s common for teenagers to be occasionally unhappy or irritable. Adolescence is a time of many major physical, psychological, and social changes, and teenagers often have a difficult time dealing with these.

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As a result, it is often difficult for parents to differentiate normal teenage “highs and lows” from adolescent depression. For example, teenagers with depression don’t always isolate themselves or appear sad, and symptoms of depression that are common among adults are typically less apparent in teenagers.

For many teenagers, depression manifests itself as irritability, anger, and aggression. The following are other symptoms of adolescent depression that parents and caregivers of teenagers should watch out for:

  • Worsening academic performance
  • Diminished interest in formerly pleasurable activities
  • Issues with authority
  • Changes in sleeping habits (either too much sleep, or too little)
  • Substance abuse
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Withdrawal from friends and loved ones
  • Frequent headaches, stomachaches, and other physical complaints that have no apparent cause
  • Reckless behavior
  • Evidence of self-harm, such as scars, burns, and bruises
  • Violence
  • Criminal behavior, such as shoplifting and driving under the influence
  • Thoughts and talk of suicid

If a teenager appears to have one or more of the aforementioned symptoms, parents or caregivers should offer help and provide him or her with an open, non-judgmental environment in which they can talk about the teenager’s feelings and what he or she is going through. It is imperative for parents or caregivers of a depressed teenager to seek advice from a mental health professional right away. A mental health professional can help by making a diagnosis, and by helping formulate a treatment plan that could involve medication, therapy, or other methods.

Depression is a serious mental illness and is not something that depressed teenagers will simply outgrow. If left untreated, the symptoms can worsen and can eventually lead to suicide. However, with the right professional treatment, teenagers can prevent or minimize future depressive episodes and get their lives back on track.

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Prior to becoming a core faculty professor in Clinical Psychology at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California, Paul Gabrinetti, PhD consulted for the Department of Probation on children’s services. For more discussions on adolescent depression, follow this Twitter account.


Signs, Symbols, and Patterns: The Jungian Approach to Dreams

All people dream. For thousands of years, men have tried to understand dreams, where they originate from and what they mean. Dream interpretation has been attempted by ancient Egyptian priests, the ancient Greeks, and great Chinese thinkers from ages past.

Two modern theorists who have made great strides in the study of dreams are Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

In his book “The Interpretation of Dreams,” Freud theorized that all dreams are a form of unconscious wish fulfillment, brought about the unconscious’s desire to resolve a conflict. According to Freud, life is driven by sexuality and that the unconscious contains thoughts, experiences, and frustrations stemming from unfulfilled sexual desires.

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Carl Jung, however, believed that the driving force behind dreams is more than base desire. Jung theorized that dreams, for the most part, are attitude compensations. Similar to Freud’s, Jung’s model of the human psyche is divided into the general of categories conscious and unconscious. However, Jung also divides the unconscious into two: The personal unconscious and the collective unconscious.

The personal unconscious refers to the repression of desires and urges. Jung also observed that certain themes and symbols appear in the dreams of a diverse group of people, regardless of their life experience, culture, personality, or other differences. These dreams are theorized to have originated from a collective unconscious, shared by mankind throughout the entire course of history.

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Jungian analysis or analytical psychology aims to re-establish a healthy balance between the unconscious and the conscious parts of a patient’s personality. By working with and interpreting dreams, what they symbolize, and their patterns, Jungian analysts help uncover that which is not easily visible and strengthen the patient’s connection to both the healing and destructive elements within the psyche.

Jungian analysts like Paul Gabrinetti utilize certain cognitive methodologies to gain a better understanding of an individual through his or her dreams. Visit this website to learn more.