Teenage depression is not just about experiencing bad moods or the occasional melancholy. Depression is a serious problem and it can significantly affect every aspect of a teen’s life. If ignored, teen depression leads to problems both at home and school. It can also lead to drugs and other substance abuse. Ultimately, if left untreated, depression in teens could affect one’s well-being and be a hindrance to a happy and fulfilling life.
Fortunately, battling teenage depression is possible and treatments are available. As a concerned parent, sibling, teacher, or friend, there are various things that one can do to help. Understanding the reasons for depression is a huge first step. Learning the symptoms and learning to spot the warning signs would also be helpful. Talking about the problem, plus offering support goes a long way in getting your teenager, sibling, student or friend back on track.
Teenagers lead a stressful life. They are bombarded daily by a host of pressures, from changes in puberty to questions about individuality. Teenage years also bring about an assertion for independence, thus bringing in much parental conflict. All these could be reasons for depression. With all these stressors both at home and at school, it is not always easy to spot depression and differentiate it from the usual teenage moodiness. Add to this the fact that teens with depression do not necessarily appear to be unhappy, nor do they necessarily withdraw themselves from others. Teenage depression is more often characterized by symptoms of irritability, anger, aggression, and rage, rather than symptoms of sadness.
Depression among teens is often characterized by the following: sadness or feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, irritability, hostility, aggression or anger, tearfulness or frequent bouts of uncontrollable crying, loss of interest in group activities, withdrawal from family and friends, changes in eating and sleeping habits, often marked by rapid weight change, feelings of worthlessness and self-hate, fatigue, lack of energy, enthusiasm and motivation, difficulty in concentrating and thoughts of death or suicide.
Teenagers usually face different reasons for depression from adults. Thus, depression among teenagers can look different from depression among adults. As noted above, irritability and hostility, rather than sadness, is the predominant mood in depressed teenagers. A depressed teenager may be grumpy, easily frustrated, hostile to others, or prone to outbursts. Depressed teenagers also frequently complain about physical aches and pains. Depressed teens are also extremely sensitive to criticism. They are often hounded by feelings of worthlessness and are extremely prone to be vulnerable to criticism, failure or rejection. Lastly, while depressed adults usually isolate themselves, teenagers with depression keep up at least a few friendships and relationships.
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