Depression in teenagers is a critical mental health disorder. 15% of the population between the age of 12-17 suffers from depression according to Youth Data 2022 Reports. It can affect a child’s ability to work, study, sleep, have a balanced diet, and respond to daily tasks. This can lead to excessive guilt feeling, melancholy, hopelessness, worthlessness, and disinterest in all exciting activities and hobbies they once enjoyed.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that depression can harm any child’s well-being if left unattended and untreated. Here are the top 7 warning signs and symptoms of depression in teenagers.
Seven Warning Signs & Symptoms of Depression in Teenagers
Signs and symptoms of depression in teenagers include mood swings, misperceptions, and behavior patterns that can cause grief and problems in social and domestic aspects. The intensity of symptoms can vary – They may experience one or more of the following emotional and behavioral changes.
Lower grades & poor performance in school
They start getting lower grades compared to their previous grades and their performance in school drops drastically low. They may be A graders or their teacher’s favorite students but all of a sudden their teachers are complaining about their results or their disinterested behavior in the class. These signs are one of the first signs of depression in teenagers.
Loss of interest in friends and family gatherings
Teenage phase is usually the time they prefer to be alone as they are discovering themselves but a teenager in depression losses interest in going out with their family or friends. They avoid going to parties that they once enjoyed or refuse to meet any of their friends outside school.
Have extreme thoughts – harmful & suicidal
Depression leads to negative thinking and extreme thoughts. They start having dark thoughts or use dark thoughts more often in the conversation. They also talk about suicides or hurting themselves to free themselves from the pain or confusion they are in.
Loss of appetite or increased appetite
Loss or gain in appetite is one of the most common symptoms of depression in teenage that can result in unexplained weight loss or increase and unusual secrecy about eating habits, which appear when they tend to eat unhealthily or more than usual.
Lack of interest & motivation
While all the children of their age are taking an interest in their educational and social life – checking out universities, going hiking, planning camp outs, or preparing for exams, teenagers in depression look disinterested and unmotivated to even step out of their room or have a normal discussions with people around them.
Experience excessive mood swings
Another symptom of depression in teenagers is excessive mood swings or changes in mood at the slightest discomfort. They show patterns of excessive moods – anxiety, irritability, frequent anger, frustration, repeated annoyance, and rapid and abrupt mood changes. These happen when they are asked to step out of their comfort zone, at any changes, or when something goes against their plan.
Experience fatigue, exhaustion, & low energy.
Depressed teenagers have low energy levels throughout the day. Even the smallest activity will cause them fatigue and exhaustion. They immediately go for a nap after being out for a few hours or request to go home early at any family gatherings because they don’t feel like it.
What are the Leading Causes of Depression in Teenagers
Depression is a complex mental health condition and the actual cause is unknown. It can occur because of one major reason or it can occur as a result of a series of reasons. They may feel depressed during a physical illness phase or have depression with life changes – when they move away or lose a loved one. Genetics and a long history of depression in the family can also be the cause of depression in a teenage child. So here are the top causes of depression in teenagers to check for.
Imbalance in the hormones
An essential chemical in the brain known as a neurotransmitter is crucial for controlling moods and behaviors. Clinical depression results from low levels of these hormones – dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Suffering from an imbalance in hormones may be one of the reasons causing depression in teenagers.
Experiencing neglect and loneliness
Depression is an immediate result of neglect and loneliness. When a teenager was/is neglected at home they feel a sense of loneliness despite being surrounded by friends and family. They may feel their parents are not giving them the quality time that they need or they are both busy to have casual talks with them.
Undergoing physical trauma or abuse
When children experience a physical trauma in their life, they do not know how to deal with it. Physical trauma can be any accident, a physical incident or a sexual abuse, any of which is directly responsible for depression and must be handled with patience and right treatment.
Experiencing an emotional trauma or abuse
Emotional trauma and abuse are highly neglected causes of depression. Experiencing a long term breakup, a death in the family, or moving away from a special person can upset any teenager. Emotional abuse such as abusive relationship with parents or their partner can also lead to depression which requires long term therapy and counselling.
Sudden change in lifestyle
Major life events or changes such as unemployment, financial crisis, moving to a new place, having a new job, etc. also leads to depression. Although depression caused by a change in lifestyle is easy to manage, it can leave behind toxic memories that can cause depression even after the lifestyle is changed for better.
Genetic risk factors contributing to depression
Treatment of Depression in Teenagers
Depression is a serious mental health hazard at any stage of life but depression in the teenage phase is dangerous and critical as it affects their future success and the rest of their life. Therefore it is important to find the right treatment plan to fight depression and help teenagers phase out of it towards a happy, successful, and fulfilling life.
Encourage towards quality time with friends and family
Positive friendships and interactions with others can boost a teenager’s self-confidence. Encourage them to invite their close friends and hang out with them. A good company can help them focus on the better part of their life and remove all negative thoughts.
Explore better mental health with meditation
There are different practices of getting better mental health but one of the most talked about methods that has history of success with mental health is meditation. It directs the teenagers towards mindfulness -the practice of slowing down and paying attention to themselves with surrounding.
Regularly engaging with mindfulness practices makes them calmer and emotionally more balanced. In most cases, mindfulness therapies alone are sufficient to treat depression effectively. Learn The Magic of Mind Power, Energies & Healing, as an effective way for recovery from depression.
Indulge in regular exercise
Regular exercise such as walking daily for 15 to 30 minutes, dancing to favorite music, planting or spending time with nature, bike riding, and getting a gym membership has long-term benefits for teenagers with depression. It stimulates the good feelings in the brain by elevating mood. Encourages them to engage in their favorite sports and games to promote physical activity and relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Adopt a healthy and balanced diet
A healthy lifestyle begins and ends with the appropriate habit of eating a balanced diet that optimizes mental health and supports energy: things like quality proteins, vitamin B, and magnesium-containing fruits and green vegetables, and avoiding eating lots of sugary and starch food that can steady blood sugar help to improve mood.
Set a regular sleep pattern
An excessive or insufficient sleeping schedule can damage mental health. Having 8 hours of sleep is highly recommended for a healthy body and a relaxed mind. Without proper sleep or a sleep schedule the body and the mind start deteriorating leading to other health conditions.
Use psychotherapy as a mind power remedy
Psychotherapy or talk therapy is the safest and most effective treatment for teenage depression, depending on the severity of the condition. Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy uses links between thoughts, behavior, and feelings associated with mild to moderate depressive teenage treatments. It can be essential in many conditions, such as eating disorders, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. Interpersonal psychotherapy session involves eliminating the symptoms by enhancing interpersonal functioning. During therapy sessions, teenagers are guided towards a sense of well-being.
Depression is a mental health condition that can affect your sleeping patterns, appetite, and energy level, making it hard to go to school or work. It is very necessary to recognize the symptoms of depression and get professional help because it can cause serious problems when left untreated.
If you think you may be suffering from depression, contact your healthcare provider or a mental health professional for help. Or contact us if you need emotional support.
The first step to combat depression is shifting towards a positive mental approach –Let’s start meditating and thinking positively. Learn the Five points of Meditation to achieve serenity.
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