Teenagers are unsettled. Almost everything in their life is in transition. Because of shifting hormones, teens tend to find that their emotions run high. Combine that emotionally charged atmosphere with a lack of experience and what you get is a young person who frequently overreacts. There are all kinds of new challenges for the teenager and he/she is often worried that they don’t have what is required to meet those challenges.
When things go wrong in a teen’s life, they feel it acutely. The teenager has yet to learn that it is normal for things to go awry and there are positive ways to deal with it. They need some adult guidance to navigate through things from time to time but, ironically, their tender ego is resistant to anything which feels like dependence on others.
Activities That Help Prevent Depression In Teens
Teenagers usually cope with the emotional insecurity of these years by maintaining positive relationships, activities and opportunities to boost their self-confidence. The counterbalance of positive helps keep the ship of identity and assurance steady. Teens who are actively building friendships, involved with hobbies and outside interests and who participate in youth-oriented activities can often weather the storms of adolescence.
But, sometimes, despite these efforts, the teen seems to be sinking. A significant number of teens succumb to depression. Teen depression can take a person down a dangerous road that includes substance abuse, self-abuse and delinquent behaviors, even suicide. Recognizing teen depression and intervening is important.
Signs Of Teen Depression
- Feeling sad and hopeless – although depressed teens are more often angry
- Bad grades or other problems at school
- Social withdrawal/isolation
- Apathy or lack of energy
- Low self-worth
- Substance abuse
- Over-reacts when criticized
- Sleeplessness or increased sleeping
- Poor concentration
- Conflicts with authority
If a parent or teacher sees these symptoms, they should next ask themselves how long the symptoms have been present and how severe the symptoms seem. This will be help in gauging whether the teen is undergoing normal angst or something more serious
Behaviors Teens Often Turn To When Feeling Depressed
The sooner teen depression is recognized and addressed the better since young people may engage in risky behavior in an attempt to break free from feeling depressed. The teen may use alcohol or drugs or cause problems at school. Sadly, these negative behaviors only compound the depression as relationships with family, friends and authority figures rupture.
What Teen Depression Can Stem From
Teen depression can be the result of chemical imbalances or it may stem from tough family situations like a divorce or death. Having other family members with depression makes it more likely that a teen may deal with depression. Depression may even result from negative ways of thinking that have developed into patterns.
Successfully Treating Teen Depression
The good news is that teen depression is highly treatable. Therapy helps teens unravel their depression. It can be a place to learn new coping skills and develop more positive patterns. Psychotherapy addresses the events and feelings the teen has experienced. Interpersonal therapy teaches skills for building positive relationships. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on redirecting negative thinking and behavior patterns.
The use of antidepressants to treat teenage depression is somewhat controversial. The drugs were created for adult use, rather than for young people whose brains are still developing. There is a certain amount of risk involved in using them to manage depression in someone still in their teens. The best thing to do is to talk with a health care provider about the benefits and risks and whether using them is the wisest treatment option for the teen.
The problem of teen depression is not a sideline issue. Teen depression is on the rise. One out of every five teenagers is living with diagnosable depression. It may be minor or it may be severe, but the important thing is to recognize it early and look for help. Since teens rarely ask for help with their emotional struggles, it usually falls to the parents to recognize what is going on and make plans to address the issue.