Depression that affects teenagers or adolescents is not just mood changes. Sometime it can give a significant impact to the teen’s life. This problem should be concerned as well, if left untreated it may lead to abusing alcohol & drug, violence, problems related to self-loathing, bad lifestyle, or even thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts.
It’s perfectly normal for teens to feel sad and not happy at some time in life. But if this persists longer (particularly more than 2 weeks) and more often than usual, it may signal teen depression.
Fortunately, this mood disorder can be treated. If you in-doubt to the condition of your teens, seek and find help from health professionals for more advice!
There are some misperceptions about teen depression. As well we know that teen years or adolescent are tough! But we all agree that most teens need to equilibrate the requisite angst with the progress of a strong sense of their self, good performance in school, success with outside activities, and having good friendships.
Many Teens have occasional acting out or not-good moods, but you need to clearly understand that depression for this case is something different. This mood disorder can be potential to destroy and affect the core of teenager’s personality. It also can lead to ‘an overwhelming’ sense of anger, despair, and of course overwhelming sadness.
Whether the number of teen depression cases are actually going up — or we are just getting more conscious of them, but in fact this mood disorder can affect teenagers far more than we expected. Furthermore unfortunately, though it may be highly treatable but there is only about 1 out of 5 depressed teens that get the appropriate treatment.
The poor ability of teenagers to find and seek help is one of major reason for why most depressed teens don’t receive help. Unlike a depressed adult, they typically rely on their caregivers, teachers, or parents to identify their suffering and find help.
Therefore if we have an adolescent, it’s important for us to learn what depression in teenagers looks like and what appropriate steps that we should do if we spot and notice the warning signs.
There are some common symptoms, but remember that these don’t always point that a teen definitely has depression. Some signs of teen depression may include:
- Retraction from friends.
- Suddenly decreased point in grades.
- Listlessness or apathy.
- Having feeling of hopelessness, sadness, or sometime anxiety.
- Having preoccupation with dying or even death.
- Weight changes (both weight loss and weight gain) – particularly for sudden weight changes. Some depressed teens experience compulsive overeating, while others may have loss /poor interest in food.
- Inappropriate /excessive guilt.
- Poor or decreased concentration (difficulty concentrating), decreased memory (memory loss), and difficulty in making /taking a decision.
- Abusing alcohol or even illegal drugs.
- Disorderly sexual activity.
- Some changes in behavior, such as rebellious behavior and irresponsible habits (such as not-on-time to go to school or even skipping school).
- Sleeping troubles – such as excessive sleeping a day or the opposite occurs (lack of sleep or keeping awake at night).
- Sometime physical symptoms may also occur. Some depressed teens also experience fatigue, back pain or low back pain, headaches, or even stomach pain.
Adolescents face a lot of pressures, from the changes that come from their puberty to questions & issues of who actually they are and where they will fit in! Furthermore, the transition and progress from kid to adult also can be potential to result some parental conflict as teens begin to affirm their independence. With all of these issues, sometime it’s difficult to distinguish between the natural teenage moodiness and teen depression.
There are a wide number of reasons why depression affects adolescents.
For instance, teens can have feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness over their grades. The atmosphere of their family, the status of social with their peers, their school performance, and even their orientation in sex can be some major factors that significantly affect how they feel.
Sometimes, teenagers with depression get this mood disorder from their environmental stress. In general, any people around them have a significant contribution to cause or improve teen depression. Regardless to the cause of this mood disorder, when their family and friends don’t give adequate support to improve their sense of isolation or their feeling of sadness, there is a chance for them to develop depression.
If left untreated, teen depression can be potential to cause some of the following problems:
- Violence! Depressed teens (especially for boys who get bullying) are more likely to become violent.
- Excessive addition with internet! To ease their depression, they may wreak the problem by going online which then may put them at greater chance of having internet addiction. This addiction can put them at greater chance of having more isolation and then their depression may get worse.
- Having more feelings of failure, shame, unworthiness, or ugliness.
- Reckless habits or high-risk behaviors, such as doing unsafe sex, reckless driving, and so on.
- Abusing alcohol & drugs! To cope with their depression, some depressed teens may tend to drink alcohol excessively and even abuse illegal drugs.
- Often talking about running away. If they don’t feel comfortable at home, they may want to run away from home.
- Decreased performance in school. As noted before, depression can be potential to cause difficulty concentrating and fatigue (low energy). As a result, depressed teens may have poor attendance at their class or other problems at their school.
Unfortunately, there is no standard medical test or specific test to diagnose teen depression. In many cases, doctors usually do some psychological tests and interviews with the teens. These procedures are usually also done with their family, friends, and teachers.