Teenage depression is on the rise during these modern times. Teens undergo many changes and go through new experiences when they reach the adolescent years. Teenage depression is prevalent because teens are often under a lot of pressure to conform to their parents’ expectations, live up to their peers’ idea of what’s currently cool and fashionable, and excel in all their activities. As a result, they may feel inadequate and deprived.
Adults may sometimes tend to attribute it to hormones or dismiss it as a case of the usual teenage mood swings and rebellious behavior; but if ignored or left untreated, teenage depression could result in a lasting state of depression and, in many cases, suicide. Cases of teenage depression are on the rise; and now more than ever, it’s important to fully understand what it is all about.
Teenage Depression Signs
It’s very important to be able to spot behavioral warning signs. Note that some mood changes are more extreme than most, and that one shouldn’t immediately jump to conclusions when trying to deal with a teenager’s emotions. Being observant and having the ability to differentiate between mood swings and negatively, destructive behavior is a key element in dealing with teenage depression.
What are the symptoms that indicate that a teenager is experiencing depression? A few telltale signs of this condition include:
long periods of irritability
feelings of hopelessness
loss of pleasure in one’s normal routine and activities
constant feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy
deteriorating performance in school
excessive crying and feelings of sadness
physical and/or verbal aggression
Depressed teenagers may also exhibit destructive behavior and use activities such as alcohol and drug abuse, as well as self-injury, as an outlet for their feelings.
Teenage Depression Causes
As mentioned earlier, peer pressure and parental expectations play a large part in a teenager’s feelings of self-worth and behavior. Once he feels that he is unable to keep up with all the expectations and live up to other people’s standards, this will cause him to doubt himself.
Young people also place a high premium on being accepted. When a teenager fails to fit in, this contributes to stronger feeling of inadequacy. After all, for many young people, being alone, different, and unpopular is a terrible thing.
Family problems can also give rise to teenage depression. Young people may harbor feelings of guilt and start questioning themselves, wondering if they somehow contributed to the problems, especially if they’re also the constant targets for criticism. They will start thinking that their presence at home is unnecessary and that everyone’s life will be better if they disappeared.
Performance in school is another trigger for teenage depression. With academics becoming more difficult at this age, teenagers may not be able to keep up with schoolwork as well as they used to, and would therefore experience failures from time to time.
Frustration with schoolwork, fear of disappointing parents, and dismay at one’s self can all lead to feelings of worthlessness. In Japan, for example, there was a time when suicide among students was on the rise, especially among those who performed poorly in school.
Teenage Depression Treatments
Clearly, teenage depression is not a joke and certainly not just the dramatic whimpering of young people. It’s a major problem that deserves the fullest attention of one’s friends and family.
That’s why it’s very important to be very supportive and attentive. Rather than being impatient with the young person’s behavior, parents in particular should pay careful attention and take the time to really understand what their children are going through. It would be a great help if they are able to convey to their child that he is loved and that he is a promising individual with lots of potential. Young people need encouragement and support to get through this difficult time in their lives.
Family and friends of a depressed teenager can also get help from counseling services and organizations that specifically deal with teenage depression. Some may also choose to enlist the help of professionals.
Teenage depression is indeed a heavy burden for a young person to bear, in addition to dealing with major life changes. Overcoming it won’t be an easy task, but if one really takes time to pay attention to this, and by opening the lines of communication and thoroughly understanding their situation, parents can help enormously in saving their child’s life.
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