Teen Depression: Everything Parents Must Know

The sad thing is that of all the teenagers struggling with teen depression, only thirty percent receive any sort of intervention. The other seventy percent simply struggle through the pain of mental illness or emotional turmoil, and as the rate of depression rises, so does the teen suicide rate. The good news is, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that studies show treatments of teen depression in adolescents can be effective.

Description of Teen Depression

Although statistics show that girls are twice as likely as boys to develop teen depression, this is misleading. It has been reported that girls are more likely to disclose their depressive symptoms, or seek out help than boys. Subsequently, it only appears that girls are twice as likely to be depressed as boys. Boys frequently will show their depression through anger, and acting out, in seeking out peer groups that display asocial or antisocial behaviors.

Sufferers of teen depression are usually overwhelmed with a deep sense of hopelessness. They think of the most negative things, and may feel more comfortable in their depression. Causes Though, there is some evidence that some depression has a genetic basis especially, manic depression, or bipolar disorder, there are evidences to show that teen depression is learned not genetic.

The following arguments support this opinion: Because much depression has to do with styles of thinking, behavior and interpersonal relationships, there is much scope for depressive styles to be passed down in families by learning. Even if you do have a genetic predisposition to depression, it is no more than a predisposition. You are not certain to suffer from teen depression, by any means. There is no gene for depression, and there never will be because genes just don’t work that way. Yapko, M.D. (1999).
A depressed person depresses you.

Other factors that cause teen depression are:

  • Experiencing stress at school. Parents can create stress by unrealistic expectations being placed on their teens to achieve, which may lead to teen depression.
  • Some degree of dysfunction in home. Whether it is communication between parents or between parents and teen.
  • Breakup of a relationship can cause teen depression
  • Physiological illnesses can induce teen depression
  • Teen depression may be caused by physical and sexual abuse,
  • Or sudden loss of a loved one.

Signs of Teen Depression: If one or more of these signs of depression persist, you should seek help:

  • Frequent sadness, tearfulness
  • Hopelessness
  • Inability to make a decision
  • Decreased interest in activities
  • Persistent boredom; low energy
  • Drop in academic performance
  • Social isolation
  • Low self esteem
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection
  • Increased irritability, anger
  • Also difficulty with relationships may a sign of teen depression
  • Frequent absences from school
  • Poor concentration may also point to teen depression
  • A major change in eating and/or sleeping patterns
  • Efforts to run away from home
  • Thoughts or expressions of suicide
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Sometimes physical symptoms may be a sign of teen depression. Headaches, muscle aches, low energy, sudden change in appetite or weight, insomnia or hypersomnia may be physical manifestations of teen depression

How to Seek Help for Yourself or Your Friend with Teen Depression

Treatment options for adolescents with depression include psychotherapy and antidepressant medications. However, one major antidepressant, Paxil, now has a warning NOT to be given to children under 18 with teen depression. Family therapy may be helpful if family conflict is contributing to the depression. Support from family or teachers to help with school problems may also be needed. Occasionally, hospitalization in a psychiatric unit may be required for teens with severe teen depression, or if they are at risk of suicide.

Many parents are tempted to utilize punitive solutions like “boot camps”, “wilderness programs”, or “emotional growth schools.” There is no scientific evidence which supports use of these programs. In fact, there is a growing body of research which suggests that they can actually harm adolescent with teen depression, particularly sensitive ones.

Websites to Visit for More Information on Teen Depression


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