Teenagers And Depression
What is a Depressed Teen?Teenagers have reactions to emotions that vary greatly as they learn how to relate to the world around them. Teens suffering from a depressive disorder often do not feel sad; they may feel irritated or disconnected instead. Tempers flare in depressed teens and feelings of frustration can lead to violent outbursts. Teens suffering from a depressive disorder report more aches and pains than their peers do. Depressive disorders are illnesses requiring careful diagnosis.Treatments include therapy to change the way a person thinks about himself or herself. Chemical imbalances in the brain that require medication to regulate the hormones controlling the emotions are one type of depressive disorder. Another type of depressive disorder is bipolar depression in which a person moves from a state of hyperactivity to a state of depressed activity. The mood swings back and forth over time making diagnosis and treatment difficult.Risks and CausesStress at homeTeens face stress at home because of the developmental need to seek independence.Family issues teens were not aware of at younger ages cause feelings of guilt and responsibility that are misplaced.Teens often do not feel safe discussing personal issues with family members.
Drug or Alcohol AbuseTeens who abuse drugs and alcohol are at a very high risk of depressive disorders. Substance abuse is often a coping mechanism and a way to self-medicate.
LonelinessFeeling lonely is a part of the human condition and loneliness can be overwhelming for teens with low self-esteem.Teens seek the company of others and when depressed may withdraw from friends, preferring to be alone rather than feel lonely with others.
Pressure to Perform Well at SchoolTeens often feel an enormous responsibility to achieve success in high school. They feel pressure from teachers, parents, extended family, and people in the community.
Lack of Family SupportMany teens have family situations that lack a great deal of family support. Single-parent families have issues of time management and grandparent families have issues of generation differences.
Family History of Depressive DisordersA family history of depressive disorders may indicate a genetic factor. However, depressed family members teach their children depressive behaviors.
PovertyFamilies struggling with poverty suffer stress that is long-term, leading to health problems as well as depressive disorders. Teens in poverty struggle to fit in with their peers.
Traumatic EventsA death, rape, divorce, and other traumatic events can cause temporary depressive symptoms for teens who go on to learn to cope with the loss and move forward with their lives.
Pressure to Fit In at SchoolThe pressure to fit in with a group of peers can be overwhelming for some teens.
TreatmentInterventions of therapy that may include medication offer teens treatment for a depressive disorder. Depressive disorder in teens is highly treatable, while the brain is still forming, it is flexible and the way people think about themselves is less hard-wired than in adults who have made lifelong habits of negative self-talk and other depressive-related behaviors. Recognize the difference between sadness and depressive disorder by talking to someone trained to identify depressive disorders like a school counselor or doctor.Helping OthersIf you feel that a friend is suffering from a depressive disorder, begin by starting a conversation about getting help for depression. Knowing that you care may encourage a friend to seek treatment. Depressed teens considering suicide often change their behavior. They may talk about death and dying, act recklessly, give away possessions, or say goodbye. Talk to a trusted adult immediately if someone you know may be thinking about suicide.