Depression in teens and what to do about it

Depression in Teenagers and What to Do About It

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Depression is extremely common. In fact, around 250 million people worldwide suffer from depression.

According to the WHO, by 2025, depression will be the second leading disease, behind obesity and diabetes. 

Depression strikes individuals of all ages, including 2.8% of teenagers worldwide.

Depression in teens poses a serious mental health issue, typically manifested through immense sadness, loss of interest, and withdrawal from society.

Perilous as it is, depression in teens affects how they think, feel, and act, which can then affect their emotional and physical welfare. 

Depression is incapacitating, all-pervasive. It obliterates any capacity for happiness, hope, or pleasure.

But even so, with the apt techniques at hand, depression – especially in teens – can be easily overcome, and here’s what to know about it.  

Symptoms of Depression in Teenagers

Peer pressure, social expectations, or even changing bodies can all cause teenagers to experience a turmoil of ups and downs.

However, for some teenagers, the lows are much more than just a passing phase.

Sometimes, depression in the teenage years can be hard to diagnose since it can often be mistaken as typical teenage mood swings.

If your teen is depressed, you can easily notice it through their sudden emotional, behavioral, and physical changes.

While the intensity of depression symptoms can vary, commonly, the following are regarded as the leading depression symptoms in teens:  

  • Bad academic results
  • Not participating in social activities
  • Sadness
  • Having little or no energy and motivation 
  • Feelings unable to achieve one’s own expectations
  • Self-doubt or a sense of remorse
  • Indecisiveness, a lack of focus, or forgetfulness
  • Change in sleep, either oversleeping or struggling with insomnia
  • Changes in appetite
  • Authority-related issues
  • Doesn’t like to do the things that he/she used to enjoy and found pleasure doing (Anhedonia)
  • Guilt
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

Depression and Anxiety in Teenage Males vs Teenage Girls

Research has shown that symptoms of depression in teenage girls might differ from depression and anxiety in teenage males. 

Anxiety and depression are uncommon before puberty hits, but once the teenage era is behind, it can equally affect boys and girls.

Even so, the risk of girls suffering from depression is twice as high as that seen in males. Some scientists even believe that a girl’s increased risk of depression can be linked to hormone level variations that take greater effect in females than males.

The difference between depression symptoms in girls and depression and anxiety in boys is that girls manifest symptoms such as guilt, low energy levels, tiredness, asthenia, loss of appetite, and sleep.
In contrast, boys had entirely different symptoms of depression, such as suicidal thoughts, irritability and aggression, difficulties concentrating, and disturbance

Causes of Depression during Teenage Years

It’s still unclear what the leading cause of depression in the teenage years might be. However, most times, depression comes as a result of a handful of issues combined.

These include biological, environmental, and social conditions, and then emotional ripeness, immediate surroundings, and others.

A few of the factors that can trigger or cause symptoms of depression in your teen are:

  • Being a subject of bullying at school
  • Having no social support or interaction 
  • Inherited traits or other mental or physical conditions
  • Changing hormones
  • A traumatic event that left a lasting imprint in your teen
  • Negative thinking, judgment, and lack of support from society

Treatment and Help for Depression in Teenagers

There is still no definite path that can help us master how to prevent depression.

Still, if left untreated, depression can be tremendously harmful to your teenager’s wellbeing, and even lethal if left untreated. 

Should you notice some of the aforementioned symptoms, ensure that you initiate a conversation in which you are understanding, supportive, and listening carefully. 

A few strategies that may help prevent depression is to encourage your teenager to

  • Lead a more active and healthy lifestyle
  • Adopt healthy food habits
  • To boost self-esteem
  • To feel comfortable to reach out to friends and social support  
  • To learn how to control stress
  • Encourage the teen to get enough sleep
  • If needed to go to cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help prevent depression from worsening 
  • Support him during the entire process and after.

Treating Depression in Teenagers: The Verdict  

It might take a long time for your child to recover from depression.

Depending on the severity of the symptoms and how long they have had the condition, treatment time can last anywhere from 3 months up to 2 years.

In the most trying times, the one thing to do as a parent is to provide your teenager with as much support as possible while making sure you also take care of yourself.

Depression in teenagers shouldn’t be considered a weakness nor be taken with a grain of salt.

After all, we are talking about the second most common disease, here- so treating it on time, and accordingly, is the only way to aid your teenager on their way to recovery!

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