Depression is a common and yet a very serious disorder that should not be taken lightly. People of all ages can develop depression, especially teenagers. Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how a teenager thinks and feels, along with their general behavior towards their peers.
What is Teen Depression?
This medical illness is a serious problem that leads to harmful acts like suicide and self-harm. It affects individuals in a different way. Some teens may appear more depressed or show more signs while others do better to hide their depression. One of the leading causes of suicide for the ages between 10 to 24 years old is depression, according to the research done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and from said statistics, about 4 to 8 percent of high school students attempt suicide every year. Either that or the teen goes wayward and resorts to negative diversions such as alcoholism and drug addiction. Although depression is a serious issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly, it is treatable and people with depression can still be helped to overcome it and its ensuing ill effects by getting help with addiction and depression.
Why do Teens Experience Depression?
Teen depression can root from various events that an adolescent experiences. It’s usually caused by their school performance, their social standing among their peers, their sexuality, and even from their relationships with their friends and family.
Some teens experience depression due to their poor academic performance in school. They often feel very pressured to do well by their parents, and are sometimes unable to keep up. Another very common reason among teenagers is their low social standing or even high social standing. They are expected to be like who they see online; they are given a lot of pressure to always look their best and do what others do. Others feel depressed due to their lack of friends, which can be due to them having a social anxiety disorder, or even just having difficulty associating with other people.
Some teens are made to feel worthless by other people for reasons like, they don’t “fit in,” or because of their sexuality. They often feel insecure about their sexuality since being a heterosexual isn’t considered “normal.” Teens also get depressed from being bullied either in school or online by their peers, and even people who don’t even personally know them. Sometimes, teenagers also feel responsible for some of their parents’ problems, especially their parents’ monetary problems.
Signs of Depression to Look for in Teens
- Excessive sleeping
- They tend to prefer sleeping or staying in bed over going outside (beyond what’s called normal)
- A change in their habits
- A change in eating habits, frequent absences in certain activities or commitments, etc.
- Intake of drugs and alcohol
- A lot of teens resort to drinking since they think of it as a way to “drown out” or distract them from their problems. Look out for slurred speech or quickened speech, loss of fine motor coordination, and other symptoms of drunkenness
- Sudden sadness and anxiety
- Withdrawal from friends and relationships
- They start to socialize less with people they usually meet with, like their friends and classmates.
- An abrupt drop in their academic performance
- They take up an interest in death or suicide, this can also include an interest in self-harming or sharp objects like blades.
- A noticeable change in their way of thinking or behavior
- Look for verbal cues, and physical cues (even the little ones) that are unusual for them, like their disinterest or apathetic response to certain things that they usually react to, a sudden difficulty in concentrating and/or deciding on things, or their preference to be left alone or to be isolated from others by staying in their room.
How do I help a teen who’s depressed?
- Maintain contact with the person
- Talk to them routinely, and check up on them frequently or daily, if possible.
- Help them achieve small goals
- These goals can be things like keeping up a healthy appetite, keeping a journal, or even accompanying them when exercising.
- Talk to them
- DON’T say things like:
- “It’s all in your head.”
- “You have so much to live for why do you want to die?”
- “We all go through times like this.”
- “Look on the bright side.”
- “Just snap out of it.”
- DO say things like:
- “I’m here for you.”
- “I’m ready to listen.”
- “I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.”
- “Tell me what I can do now to help you.”
- Encourage them to get help
- This may not always automatically mean sending them to a psychiatrist or therapist. This can also mean encouraging them to ask for help and support from their friends, though seeing a professional can better help with their emotional or physical problems, like anxiety or eating disorders. Remember to be active in helping them in getting over their depression, be with them and support them through every step.