Teenage Depression

One out of every eight adolescents has teen depression. It's not known exactly what causes depression, but a variety of issues may be involved. The teenage years are full of pressure, uncertainty, and change. Teens grapple with a wide range of issues as they grow. Unfortunately, today’s teens are closer to technology than parents, that is why the situation is more difficult.

Causes of Teenage Depression

  • Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that carry signals to other parts of your brain and body. When these chemicals are abnormal or impaired, the function of nerve receptors and nerve systems changes, leading to depression.

  • Hormones. Changes in the body's balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression.

  • Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives — such as a parent or grandparent has a history of depression, bipolar disorder etc.

  • Early childhood trauma. Traumatic events during childhood, such as physical or emotional abuse, or loss of a parent, may cause changes in the brain that make a person more susceptible to depression.

  • Bullying - This struggle for power during childhood can have lasting negative emotional effects.

  • Peer Pressure -During teenage children spend more time with their friends and obviously get more influenced by them, in the way they talk, eat, wear, study etc. They make their own views regarding sex, alcohol etc.

  • Puberty - Becoming an adult can be an exciting process, but it can also lead to awkwardness or an inability to control hormones as the body changes. At times they find themselves unable to adjust with the opposite sex. Gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender finds it very tough to adjust in an unsupportive environment.

  • School Deadlines and Exams - The pressures of staying ahead in the academic world is the major trigger of depression in teenage. Children with a learning disability usually get depressed if they don’t get correct parental support and guidance.

  • Future Study or Career Direction – Teenage students are normally confused regarding careers and direction they should go in life. If not guided by teachers and parents they may become a victim of depression.

  • Bad Habits Teenagers believe they are mature enough to smoke cigarettes, drink spirits or take drugs. Once they are habitual they undergo depression.

  • Obesity and body image: Low self-esteem and poor body image are at times the reason for mental health disorders like depression.

  • Cyberspace: Cyberspace addiction can lead to sleep deprivation and serious mental problems. Social media can be problematic for several reasons as teens are likely to be exposed to cybercriminals, unhealthy images, and sexual content online. Teenagers can plunge into a virtual world and, eventually, lose touch with reality.

  • Irresponsible parenting: Due to lack of time parents these days are unable to spend quality time with their children. It is the duty of the parent to make their children sensitive, sensible and responsible. Children belonging to families with conflict, divorce, poverty or tragic death are more prone to depression.

Symptoms of Teenage Depression

There are emotional and behavioural changes. Often, kids with teen depression will have a noticeable change in their thinking and behaviour. They are not motivated and even become withdrawn, closing their bedroom door after school and staying in their room for hours. Due to depression, children find it difficult to adjust in family, school and society. Depression symptoms can vary in severity.

Emotional changes

Be alert for emotional changes, such as:
 

  • Feelings of sadness, which can include crying spells for no apparent reason

  • Frustration or feelings of anger, even over small matters

  • Feeling hopeless or empty

  • Irritable or annoyed mood

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities

  • Loss of interest in, or conflict with, family and friends

  • Low self-esteem

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

  • Fixation on past failures or exaggerated self-blame or self-criticism

  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure, and the need for excessive reassurance

  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things

  • Ongoing sense that life and the future are grim and bleak

  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide

  • Feeling isolated or misunderstood

  • An overwhelming desire to remove yourself from the friendship

  • Excessive or inappropriate guilt

  • Irresponsible behaviour -- for example, forgetting obligations, being late for classes, skipping school

  • Loss of interest in food or compulsive overeating that results in rapid weight loss or gain

  • Memory loss

  • Rebellious behaviour

  • Negative thinking. They feel helpless and are incapable to find solutions

Behavioural changes
Watch for changes in behaviour, such as:
 

  • Tiredness and loss of energy

  • Insomnia or sleeping too much

  • Changes in appetite — decreased appetite and weight loss, or increased cravings for food and weight gain

  • Use of alcohol or drugs

  • Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still

  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements

  • Frequent complaints of unexplained body aches and headaches, which may include frequent visits to the school nurse

  • Social isolation

  • Poor school performance or frequent absences from school

  • Less attention to personal hygiene or appearance

  • Angry outbursts, disruptive or risky behaviour, or other acting-out behaviours

  • Self-harm — for example, cutting, burning, or excessive piercing or tattooing

  • Making a suicide plan or a suicide attempt

  • Complaints of pains, including headaches, stomach aches, low back pain, or fatigue.

  • Self-Harming - When children secretly harm themselves to elicit an emotional response to deal with the pressures of being a teenager.​

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