Teenage depression is more severe than “teenage angst.” Teens may experiment with drugs or alcohol or become sexually promiscuous to avoid feelings of depression. Some teens may express their depression through angry outbursts, risky behaviors, or other means.
Teens with depression may also have other mental health disorders, such as eating disorders or anxiety disorders. “You’re so moody.” “You’re just going through a phase.” “It’s not that bad.” These are all common responses to teenagers who suffer from depression.
However, teenage depression is much different from regular teenage angst; the symptoms are much more pronounced, and the effects can be catastrophic if left untreated.
3 Causes of Teenage Depression
1. Physical changes during puberty
Puberty is a time when one’s body starts going through a lot of changes to reach adulthood. These include physical and emotional changes, which can overwhelm some teenagers. The natural increase of hormone production in the body might cause some young adults to struggle with depression. It’s important to remember that their bodies are experiencing dramatic shifts in biochemistry and an increasing sense of self-awareness in social settings.
2. Negative self-image
Teens are at a stage where they are going through significant emotional upheavals and trying to fit in with those around them. They often feel that they do not fit in with the rest of their peers and develop a negative self-image. This results in frustration and eventually depression because they do not see themselves in a positive light and end up having low self-esteem.
3. Family issues
The family environment plays a vital role in any child’s development, but more so for teenagers still developing mentally and emotionally. Teenagers need love and care from their parents, siblings, and other family members to make them feel secure about themselves as individuals and their place within their family.
Here Are 10 Teenage Depression Symptoms to Be Aware Of
1. Sadness and hopelessness
2. Irritability, anger, or hostility
3. Tearfulness or frequent crying
4. Withdrawal from friends and family
5. Loss of interest in activities
6. Poor school performance (grades)
7. Changes in eating and sleeping habits
8. Restlessness and agitation
9. Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
10. Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
How to Deal With Teenage Depression
Depression is an illness that can affect anyone at any age. It can be caused by a lot of things, such as family problems, peer pressure, school problems, and even physical changes in their bodies. Teenagers are often affected by depression because they are still in the process of discovering themselves. They’re also vulnerable to negative feelings from the environment and people around them.
Teens are notorious for being moody, rebellious, selfish, and emotional. But while this is normal adolescent behavior, depression is a real disorder that affects one in 10 teens (and preteens), according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. It’s essential to know the difference between typical teen angst and clinical depression.
“The number one sign of depression is change,” says Barbara Greenberg, PhD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating adolescents and co-author of Teenage as a Second Language.”
So if your teen has always been happy and you notice they’re spending more time alone in their room, or if they’ve always loved school but now they don’t want to go, pay attention,” she says.
Sometimes, all teens need is someone who will listen to them without judging or saying anything. Ask questions if you don’t understand something, but don’t pry too much because you might make your child uncomfortable.
If you have a teenager who’s depressed, here are some tips that might help:
1. Let them talk
Teens usually bury their emotions and hide how they feel inside. This is why it’s important to talk with them about how they feel and why they’re feeling that way. Don’t force them to open up if they’re not ready yet, but just let them know that you’re there for them whenever they need someone to talk to.
2. Listen more
Listening more than talking when your teenage child opens up to you would be best. Don’t try to fix their problems immediately or jump to conclusions without hearing what they have to say first.
3. Let them join a support group
There are many support groups for people who struggle with depression. These groups bring together people who share a common problem or experience and want to help each other move forward.
4. Encourage exercise
Exercise and physical activity can be a great way to deal with stress and boost your mood. Not only that, but it can also increase energy levels, improve sleep and concentration, and promote better self-esteem.
5. Ditch the junk food
Junk food is often high in sugar and fat, affecting your mood and making you feel drained of energy instead of refreshed.
6. Teach them to learn how to say no
Many people get stressed out because they say yes to everything, whether helping a friend or taking on more responsibilities at work.
Saying yes all the time will leave you feeling exhausted, anxious, and depressed, so take some time to think about what is most important to you and focus on those things rather than trying to do too much at once!
7. Teach them to be grateful for what they have
Getting caught up in negative thoughts about yourself or the world around you is easy, but being grateful for what you have can be a great way of putting things into perspective and finding happiness where there was none before.
8. Encourage them to write
When you’re depressed, it can be hard to put your feelings into words. Keeping a journal or diary can allow you to express your thoughts without talking to anyone else. If you feel like talking, however, ensure your parents or another trusted adult knows what’s happening and how they can help.
9. Notice the signs
Watch out for significant changes in your child’s behavior, mood, or personality. There are many different symptoms of teenage depression. These can include irritability and aggression, changes in sleep patterns, loss of interest in usual activities, low self-esteem, eating problems, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. Your teen may also experience various physical symptoms, such as dizziness and headaches.
The first step in conquering depression is awareness, so make it a point to know the symptoms and signs of teenage depression. If you have any suspicion that your teen may be depressed, encourage them to speak to a counselor about the issue. If your child is depressed, you should know that you are not alone and that there are plenty of positive things that you can do to help them lead a normal life in line with their peers in school.