It is not uncommon for young people to feel down occasionally or experience the blues. Teen depression is a major mental problem that has affected many youths, especially teens or adolescents. According to Mental Health America, one out of five adolescents suffer from clinical depression (para 6). Besides, according to Avenevoli (372), around 8% of teens suffer depression each year. This means that teen depression is as serious as adult depression, needing medical attention. Adolescence comes with many physical, emotional, social, and psychological changes that affect how teens view and feel about themselves, affecting their self-esteem and mental health. Mental Health America says that as a result, teens require guidance from adults to understand and comprehend the physical and emotional changes they experience during adolescence.
In addition, understanding the causes and symptoms of teen depression is the first strategy for helping teens overcome it. In that case, there are several causes of teen depression that should be considered when dealing with mental problems. Firstly, studies have shown that traumatic life events are a major cause of depression in teens (Michl et al. 340). For example, in a case where a teen loses a loved one or a pet, and the incident causes a lot of distress and trauma, they are likely to suffer from depression. Also, family circumstances or social situations such as domestic violence, poverty, and family stress are likely to send a teen into depression. In such cases, teens are burdened with responsibilities, and in the end, they become stressed and finally depressed.
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Teens with underlying medical conditions are also in danger of depression. For instance, if a teen lives with HIV-AIDS, they will be stressed and will most likely lead to depression if they are not guided. Also, substance use has been linked to teen depression (Whitesell et al. 2). When teens abuse substances, they are unable to work, concentrate on things, and miss many responsibilities. For example, if they are schooling, they start skipping school and not doing assignments, which accumulates stress, leading to depression.
Interestingly, recent studies have shown that many teens are sent into depression due to pressure to live the life they see on social media (Radovic et al. 6). Social media has turned out to be a stressful issue, especially for teens who have a fear of missing out. For instance, some teens struggle to live the ‘perfect’ lives they see on social media while trying to compete with their friends. This includes dressing, living posh lives, eating at expensive places and driving luxurious cars. However, some of them cannot afford and strain to fake it until they are stressed and fall into depression. All these and adolescent pressure affects their mental health.
Teen depression has a connection to emotional and behavioral changes, affecting how teens feel, think, and behave. In most cases, depressed teens show feelings of sadness and sometimes cry for no apparent reason. Also, they get irritable faster, lose pleasure in things they used to like, lose touch with family and friends, and sometimes engage in conflict with them. Besides, they feel some sense of unworthiness, in which some feel the guilt of being alive, and consequently, their self-esteem goes down. Studies have also shown that depressed teens have trouble concentrating, thinking, and remembering things, which has a negative effect on their academic performance (Humensky et al. 377). Some of them feel the thoughts of suicide or death when they feel unworthy. Mental Health America posits that approximately 5000 young youths between 15 and 24 commit suicide each year (para 10). It also says that the suicidal rate has tripled since 1960, making suicide the second major death cause in college youths.
Regarding the change in behavior, when teens are depressed, they feel tired and often sleep too much. Also, some start harming themselves through cuts, burns, or excessive tattooing. According to a study, drug abuse is a major consequence behavior that depressed teens show (Whitesell et al. 2). They view drugs as a relieving factor that could help them avoid the stress for a while, and before they know it, they become drug addicts.
Depression does not only affect their lives at the teenage level but also has a profound impact on their adult lives. Mainly, adult life depends on the choices and decisions made during teenage and youth. If depressed teens are hopeless and have difficulties thinking, they make uninformed decisions that haunt them later in life. For example, most depressed teens;’ academic performance is poor because they do not concentrate or even study to understand what they are taught. Since one aspect that directly impacts the quality of life is knowledge, they lead poor quality lives because they do not have the knowledge to make crucial life decisions. This affects their adult lives, and some live to struggle in meeting many adult needs, such as food.
When dealing with the enemy of depression in teens, paying attention to their symptoms is vital. In many cases, teens and adults show different symptoms, and as such, understanding the difference is crucial because treating it will also differ. The major difference in symptoms is that teens often show symptoms related to physical pains and aches, while adults show emotional pain. They report cases of headaches, stomach aches, or just say they are not feeling well, unlike adults who show emotional pain such as anger. Something else to note is that teens might not express their feelings effectively like adults, which calls for careful observation. In addition, depression symptoms might be confused with adolescence symptoms. For instance, teens become moody in both situations and show physical signs like headaches and stomachaches. That means that teens need extra attention and guiding them to determine their mental health status.
To sum up, tere is a need for guardians, teachers, and caregivers to create time for their teens to deal with this faceless enemy. As discussed, depression could be a pathway to death through suicide. Teens need much attention because they are surrounded by many experiences, some of which they are experiencing for the first time, like physical and emotional changes during adolescence. They need interventions such as education to enlighten them on dealing with such changes and the life experiences likely to lead them into depression. However, since they are already affected and are suffering from depression, there are various ways they can be treated. The primary treatment is giving them medication along with therapy. For instance, some anti-depressants can relieve some symptoms, helping them cope with their condition and overcome it. Nonetheless, it is vital to take preventative measures such as offering cognitive-behavioral therapies, interpersonal therapies, and psychotherapy to teens even when they do not show signs of depression. This will caution them and help them deal with stress and anxiety, which could lead them to depression.
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Avenevoli, Shelli. “Prevalence, Persistence, and Sociodemographic Correlates of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement.” Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 69, no. 4, 2012, p. 372.
Humensky, Jennifer, et al. “Adolescents With Depressive Symptoms and Their Challenges With Learning in School.” The Journal of School Nursing, vol. 26, no. 5, 2010, pp. 377-392.
Mental Health America. “Depression in Teens.” Mental Health America, 2022, www.mhanational.org/depression-teens-0.
Michl, Louisa C., et al. “Rumination as a mechanism linking stressful life events to symptoms of depression and anxiety: Longitudinal evidence in early adolescents and adults.” Journal of Abnormal Psychology, vol. 122, no. 2, 2013, pp. 339-352.
Radovic, Ana, et al. “Depressed adolescents’ positive and negative use of social media.” Journal of Adolescence, vol. 55, no. 1, 2016, pp. 5-15.
Whitesell, Mackenzie, et al. “Familial, Social, and Individual Factors Contributing to Risk for Adolescent Substance Use.” Journal of Addiction, vol. 2013, 2013, pp. 1-9.