Depression is medical condition that negatively affects the way a person feels, thinks and acts. Mostly, it is obvious in the patient’s expression of sadness and loss of interest in the activities that have once been a source of inspiration and liveliness for the individual. The fortunate thing about depression is that as a psychological health issue, it can be treated.
Teenage depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how you think, feel and behave as a teenager. Also, it is responsible for some emotional, functional and physical problems that teenagers may have. Depression during the teen years comes at a time when the teenager is trying to establish an identity apart from their parents, trying to cope with gender differences, emerging sexuality and making independent decisions. Oftentimes, teenage depression persists and recurs in adulthood when it is not treated.
Symptoms: Although the symptoms of teen depression vary with degree, yet, the following are the likely symptoms of depression in teenagers
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Memory loss
- Withdrawal from friends
- Inappropriate feelings of guilt and condemnation
- Irresponsible behavior such as forgetting obligations or skipping school.
- Rebellious behavior
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- promiscuous sexual activity
- Persistent thought of death or suicide
Causes: It is not clear yet what is or are the cause(s) of teen depression but some things easily come to play when discussing the subject matter. Some points are highlighted here as the prominent causes of depression in teenagers
- Heredity: It is no gain saying that depression as a mental problem is hereditary. It is more common in people whose blood relatives also have the condition.
- Hormonal changes: Changes that occur in the body especially with the activities of the hormones can trigger a new way of reacting to situations of life.
- Traumatic childhood experiences: traumatic events during childhood such as physical, sexual or emotional abuse or even the loss of a parent may cause changes in the brain thereby making a person more susceptible to depression.
- Biological chemistry: Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemical that carry signals to other parts of the brain and body. When these chemicals are abnormal or impaired; the function of nerve receptors and nerve systems change, leading to depression.
- Negative thinking pattern: Teen depression may be linked to learning to feel helpless rather than learning to feel capable of finding solutions for life’s challenges.
- Take conscious steps to control stress, increase resilience and boost self-esteem. This will help the teenager handle issues when they arise.
- Extend an arm of fellowship, that is, friendship and social support to teenagers especially in times of crisis.
- Get treatment at the earliest manifestation of the problem to help prevent depression from getting worse.
- Maintain ongoing treatments if recommended even after symptoms are no longer evident so as to prevent a relapse of depression symptoms.