Thursday, April 29, 2021

UNDERSTANDING TEENAGE DEPRESSION

The medical community once thought depression affected only adults. The risk for the condition can begin in childhood or the early teens, however, and increases steadily through the mid-20s. Around 11 percent of young people will have experienced an episode of depression by the end of his or her teenage years. 

Depression in children, teens, and young adults is much more than a phase. It's a real condition that can interfere with daily life, lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior, and go on to affect a person throughout life.

What is depression?

We all have times when we feel down or sad. Depression is a feeling of sadness, despair, or hopelessness that does not go away. In someone with depression, this feeling can last for weeks or months and interfere with the person's ability to participate in everyday activities. Depression affects mood, outlook, thoughts, and behavior.

 It can also cause fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, headaches, and insomnia. People with depression often see the world in a negative light. They can be overly critical of themselves, and feel worthless and unloved. They may feel overwhelmed by small problems the rest of us take in stride. They feel like giving up. They pull away from people and drop out of activities, but this isolates them and makes them feel worse.

Why Today's Teens Are More Depressed Than Ever:-

After a decline in the 1990s, the number of young people that committed suicide has been increasing every year. While no one can explain exactly why, many experts say adolescents and teens today probably face more pressures at home or school, worry about financial issues for their families, and use more alcohol and drugs.

Depression's causes:-

Teens can face many difficulties they're ill-equipped to handle emotionally: divorce, learning disabilities, and abuse and neglect, to name a few. By nature, they feel powerless against these situations, and the effects can remain with them well into adulthood. Even a teen who doesn't face any of these challenges can be depressed. An inherited tendency towards depression also can cause the problem.

Depression runs in families, but not everyone with a depressed family member becomes depressed. People with no family history of depression can also have depression. Besides life events and family history, other factors that play a role in causing depression include social environment, medical conditions, and negative thought patterns.

For teens, a stressful home environment or neighborhood poverty and violence can lead to depression. Other possible triggers for teen depression include learning disabilities that make academic success difficult, hormonal changes affecting mood, and physical illness. Drug and alcohol abuse can also affect mood and lead to depression, and many teens turn to these substances to medicate their emotions.

Why Are So Many Teens Depressed?

Here are some disturbing statistics about teen depression. According to suicide.org, teen and adolescent suicides have continued to rise dramatically in recent years. Consider these alarming figures:

*Every 100 minutes a teen takes their own life.

*Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.

*About 20 percent of all teens experience depression before they reach adulthood.

*Between 10 and 15 percent suffer from symptoms at any one time.

*Only 30 percent of depressed teens are being treated for it.

*Some teens are more at risk for depression and suicide than others. These are known factors:

*Female teens develop depression twice as often as males.

*Abused and neglected teens are especially at risk.

*Adolescents who suffer from chronic illnesses or other physical conditions are at risk.

*Teens with a family history of depression or mental illness: between 20 and 50 percent of teens suffering from depression have a family member with depression or some other mental disorder.

*Teens with untreated mental or substance abuse problems: approximately two-thirds of teens with major depression also battle another mood disorder like dysthymia, anxiety, antisocial behaviors, or substance abuse.

*Young people who experienced trauma or disruptions at home, including divorce and deaths of parents.


Signs of depression:-

1.To recognize a depressed teen, you need to know the symptoms.

2.These are warning signs of depression:

3.Feeling deep sadness or hopelessness.

4.Lack of energy.

5.Loss of pleasure or interest in activities that once excited the teen.

6.Anxiety and panic.

7.Turmoil, worry, and irritability. The teen may brood or lash out in anger because of the distress he or she feels.

8.Difficulty organizing, concentrating or remembering.

9.Negative views of life and the world.

10.Feeling worthless and guilty. The teen may feel stupid, ugly, or bad.

11.Drastic changes in appetite or weight.

12.Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep or sleeping too much.

13.Sluggishness. A depressed teen often talks, reacts, and walks more slowly than other teens.

14.Avoiding and withdrawing from friends and family.

15.Restlessness. The restlessness brought on by depression may lead to behaviors such as fidgeting or acting up in class.

16.Self-mutilation and suicidal thoughts.

Getting help:-

Depression is one of the most common of all mental health problems. The good news is that it's also one of the most treatable conditions. Young people with depression and their families and friends often don't know how to spot the problem or where to seek help.

Seek professional help if you suspect your teen suffers from depression, and choose a therapist who specializes in treating teenagers. Find a different counselor if the one you visit makes your son or daughter feel ill at ease or doesn't seem to understand your teen's needs.

A therapist who's too formal or can't establish a good rapport with children will make your child more apprehensive. If possible, get a recommendation from your health care provider, a school counselor, or friend.


Depending on the severity of your teen's depression and its causes, the therapist may suggest either talk therapy, medication, or both.

Usually, a combination of both will get the best results. An antidepressant helps correct the chemical imbalance within the brain, so the child begins to feel better.

 But the negative thought patterns that lead to depression may still remain, and therapy will help change these patterns, so the child can better cope with the stressors in life that contribute to depression.


The FDA issued a warning in September 2004 that antidepressants may cause some children and teenagers to become suicidal. Talking about suicide does not increase the likelihood of an attempt, it can actually open the door to professional 

More about this source textSource text required for additional translation information help. . If 100 patients are given antidepressants, two or three will develop suicidal thoughts. Adolescents who begin antidepressant medications should be monitored closely for any suicidal thoughts or behaviors, especially in the early weeks of treatment.

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