Teenage years are said to be the most uncomfortable and confusing stage of life. Sometimes it’s very confusing and gives a lot of sad moments. But when the sadness lasts for more than two weeks, then it’s not just a sad feeling; it’s depression.
Teenage depression is a mental illness in teens that causes them repetitive feeling of sadness and loss of interest in your normal activities. ‘It affects how your teenager thinks, feels, and his or her behavior, causing them additional physical, emotional, and functional problems’. (1)
According to suicide.org, about 20% of all teenagers experience depression before reaching adulthood. Every 100 minutes, a teenager takes his life due to depression. (2) It’s also currently the primary cause of suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds.
Causes of Teenage Depression
There are lots of reasons or things that can stimulate depression in a teenager. Common ones are
- Hormone. As a teenager grows, certain hormones are produced. When hormones like stress hormone cortisol are produced excessively, it creates an imbalance in the neuron system triggering depression in the teenager.
- Genetics. Depression can be caused by hereditary in some families.
- Traumatic events. Some events that happen in their childhood can be very traumatic to them. Those events also raise the risk of depression.
- Having issues that lower your esteem. These include stammering, poor body structure, unwealthy family, or having low grades.
- Being a victim of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse.
- Use of hard drugs
- Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender in a homophobic or unsupportive environment.
- Having a learning disability or attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder
- Family conflicts
Symptoms of Teenage Depression
Teen depression causes a significant shift in the emotions and behavior of a teenager. They lose motivation and become withdrawn from their family and friends. Some even get frustrated and angry at the slightest provocation. Depression signs come in different ways for people. Here are some changes we tend to see in them
- Sadness, irritability, or frustration
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty in concentration
- The feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Social isolation
- Insomnia(sleeping too much)
- Attempting suicide
Effects it can have on them.
Neglection of depression can lead to many emotional, psychological, social, or health problems that affect a teenager’s life. Some of the noticed effects it has in their lives are
- Alcohol and drug misuse
- Academic problems
- Relationship difficulties
- Suicide attempts
- Failure to be active in life
Depression is commonly treated by psychotherapy or medication. Psychotherapy is the treatment of depressed or mentally ill people using dialogues and a variety of psychological treatments. Some antidepressants are not effective in treating depression in teenagers.
Some of them can be quite harmful to them. Many physicians suggest the ‘Use of Antidepressant medication Prozac, which the FDA approved for use with pediatric patients ages 8-18 in treatment of depression’. (3) Your medical doctor should determine the most suitable treatment for your teenager.
There are no certain ways to prevent depression because what causes them are different depending on the individual. However, some ways you can help your kids prevent it is by
- Paying attention to your teenager’s choices and needs and try to be supportive as you can cause it means a lot to them.
- Don’t compare your kid to other kids and love them the way they are.
- It will be best to give your teenager space when they need it.
- Try to encourage your teen to learn how to deal with stressful conditions positively.
- It would help to encourage your teenager to reach out to friendship and social support.
- Encourage your teen to tell you when they notice any signs of depression in them.