The transition from college to adulthood is one that comes with a lot of lessons. No longer shielded by the protection of your parents or the structure and order of higher education, college graduates are sent out into the world the chase their dreams. This quest, for some is simple, while others struggle with the realities that their parents protected them from over the years. If success is not instant, it can lead some young adults to become overwhelmed and even depressed. Unwilling to share their “failures” and emotional distress with those closest to them, it can quickly lead to a world of sadness and depression.
Signs of Depression in Children
If you’ve noticed that your recent college grad is not themselves lately, isolated, or often discouraged, they could be battling depression. The first step to helping them is understanding the signs.
Transitioning Into Adulthood or Something More?
Though attending a college brings with it a certain level of responsibility and freedom, it is still very different from life in the “real world”. Being solely responsible for your actions and the success of your life going forward can be scary, to say the least. Learning how to not only care for yourself physically, financially, and emotionally, you’re also responsible for defining your future. Failed attempts at getting a job, the inability to manage finances, and even the inner fears of not having mom and dad to rely on in the same manner is stressful for anyone.
However, as their parents, you know them the best and therefore, should be able to decipher whether they’re just going through the transition of life or if there could be something more going on. If there is, you can recommend they seek help for mental health and depression treatment. How do you know when there’s more, here are a few things you may notice.
Long Periods of Sadness – A college grad may easily be sad about moving out of the dorm room and into their own place. If you notice during phone conversations or visits that they’re still sad weeks or months later, this could be a sign of depression.
Changes in Weight and Eating Habits – It is not uncommon for a young adult to experiment with their food choices. They may have been raised in a household that consumes meat but decide they’re going to try being vegan. However, if you notice that your child has simply stopped eating altogether, or is eating on a binge, these could be signs that they’re depressed.
Changes in Sleep – If you’re checking in on your child and they’re suddenly habitual late risers, this could mean that they’re having trouble sleeping. Lack of sleep or sleeping more often throughout the day could be another sign of depression.
Negative Mood and Behavior – Has your usually mild mannered child suddenly started acting out? Are they particularly moody for no reason? Have they begun drinking more at the family dinners? Abuse of drugs and alcohol, picking fights, and even being promiscuous could be signs of depression.
Social Withdrawal – If your outgoing college grad has suddenly stopped engaging in social activities, you should take notice. Isolation is typically a sign that something is going on emotionally that needs to be addressed.
Poor Performance – Has your child been in trouble a lot lately for their performance at work? Have they recently lost a job? Are they just not performing to the best of their abilities? If so, perhaps it’s time to have a talk about something bigger.
It can be hard at times to determine whether your adult child is simply learning how to fend for themselves in the real world or if they’re dealing with something bigger. You know your child the best and, therefore, have a better advantage to know when something is wrong. If you’ve noticed these signs, it is imperative that you sit down and have a talk with them about your concerns, and when they’re ready, provide them with the resources they need to get help.
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