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What You Need to Know About Teenage Depression

February 12, 2023

6 min read

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Author : United We Care
What You Need to Know About Teenage Depression

Introduction

The teenage phase is a significant milestone in an individual’s life. From the age of 13 until they become full-fledged adults, individuals experience changes that affect and shape their physical, mental and emotional outlook. The teenage years are a stage in which a person participates various emotions and their effects, probably for the first time. When specific individuals cannot manage and handle these emotions, it leads to problems; one of the most common problems is depression. Cases of depression in the teenage age group are termed teenage depression. It must be noted that teenage depression[4] is a serious issue since it occurs at a crucial stage in an individual’s life and could shape their personality.

What are the causes of depression in teenagers?

There could be multiple causes[2] of depression in teenagers, and these include[1]: 

  • Social causes: Teenagers seek acceptance from social circles and want the people they admire and identify with to like and accept them. Failure to be accepted by the community, peer group, or people who they are fond of can make teenagers feel rejected. This could start a series of negative feelings of worthlessness and can lead to depression. Sometimes family problems can also cause teenagers to go into depression. 

  • Physiological causes: A disease or condition that could lead to teenage depression. Sometimes even physical changes or transformations such as the start of menstrual cycles, changes in genital organs or even acne could lead to teenage depression. 

  • Academic causes: In a world of cutthroat competition, teenagers are constantly pressured to do well in school and college. They were pressured to be ahead of their peers at any cost. The education system prepares them for success but fails to teach them how to deal with failures. Bad grades or the inability to grasp complex concepts could force teenagers to go into depression, leading to an even further decline in performance, thus adding to the severity of the condition.

What are the effects of teenage depression?

Teenage depression has many effects, and these include:

  • Emotional changes: These show up as hopelessness, outbursts of anger, frequent quarrels with friends or siblings, and loss of interest in activities that were previously preferred. 

  • Behavioural changes: These could present in the form of excessive or lack of sleep, an increase or decrease in appetite, a dip in academic performance, and the tendency to self-harm or even attempt suicide.  

What are the warning signs of teenage depression?

Some red flags or warning signs[2] that should not be ignored in the case of teenagers are:

Warning signs of teenage depression.

  • A recent drastic change in behaviour: Most of the time, this could be the first clue that something is wrong with the teenager.

  • Changes in physical appearance: Noticeable signs of exhaustion, an untidy look in a teenager who otherwise used to look presentable, sudden weight gain or loss, complaints of bodily discomfort or pain.

  • Mood swings and emotional outbursts: Increased outbursts of anger followed by feelings of worthlessness, sadness and loss of interest.

  • Any thoughts or talk of suicide?[2]

How to help a teenager with depression

Teenagers with depression [3] need to be handled with utmost care and empathy. The things one could do and keep in mind are:

  • Try to gain the teenager’s trust and encourage them to talk about their thoughts and concerns. They may not open up immediately, but one should keep trying gently and give them the freedom to speak at their will and leisure.

  • Make sure they are heard: Always allow teenagers to talk at their pace. They should be able to express their feelings without restrictions and should never be stopped or interrupted while talking. They should get the impression that the person who is listening to them is genuinely concerned and they are being heard. 

  • Give them the confidence that support is just around the corner. With compassion and provided the proper guidance and support, teenagers could recover fast from depression. 

  • Ask them to seek help from an expert psychologist who will counsel them appropriately and guide them in managing their symptoms.

  •  We should not ridicule, scold or force teenagers to do anything, including no punishment or analysis of their failures.

  • Enquire or find out if they are engaged in any self-harming behaviour. This is important to identify and address because teenagers often plan drastic actions without hinting at what is to come.

When to seek professional help for a teenager with depression

One should seek expert advice immediately in case of the following:

  • The signs and symptoms of teenage depression are evident and have started adversely affecting the teenager’s life and overall health.

  • The teenager has started thinking or talking about self-harm or suicide.

One should seek an appointment with a doctor or a mental health specialist who has the necessary experience and skills to work with teenagers. It is a proven fact that symptoms of depression will not go away on their own, and it may go from bad to worse if not addressed. 

Conclusion

However, the World Health Organisation reports depressive disorder as one of the leading causes of disability among people in the developed world in teenagers and adults up to 45. Now teenage depression is a problem. It starts at an age and determines an individual’s future and how it will shape. It is essential to understand and identify the warning signs of teenage depression to address it at the right time. Many of the so-called symptoms or warning signs of teenage depression are also seen in adolescents. It makes the condition a little tough to diagnose. However, a careful eye and keen interest in the person’s situation will help. It is possible to address teenage depression after diagnosis with the right medicines and therapy and manage it.    These teenagers can go on to live happy and everyday lives.

References:

[1]

L. H. Jaycox et al., “Impact of teen depression on academic, social, and physical functioning,” Pediatrics, vol. 124, no. 4, pp. e596-605, 2009.

[2]

“Journal of pediatric health care,” J. Pediatr. Health Care, vol. 14, no. 6, p. 8A, 2000.

[3]

S. M. S. Professor, “Depression in Indian Teenagers; Causes, Symptoms & Suggestion,” Ijisrt.com. [Online]. Available: https://ijisrt.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/IJISRT19JU171.pdf. [Accessed: 11-Feb-2023].

[4]

J. Rodriguez, R. Radjack, M. R. Moro, and J. Lachal, “Migrant adolescents’ experience of depression as they, their parents, and their health-care professionals describe it: a systematic review and qualitative meta-synthesis,” Eur. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 2022.

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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