Depression in Teenagers
There are various pressures that teenagers face when they transition into puberty. With teenagers, it sometimes is difficult to notice the difference between regular growing pains and depression. It is important to know that teenage depression is much more than just moodiness. It is a condition that is dangerous. Teenage depression can have a significantly negative life-impact.
Causes of Teenage Depression
When it comes to teenage depression, there most likely will be a trigger that would have led to the depression. Some of these triggers may be:
- There might be a crisis in the teenager’s family, like a death or a divorce.
- The teenager might have faced abuse which could be sexual, physical or emotional.
- The teenager may be noticing domestic violence at home.
- The teenager may have an issue identifying with his/her sexual identity.
- The teenager might have problems with adjusting socially.
Symptoms of Teenage Depression
It is important to spot any of the warning signs and symptoms of teenage depression. These symptoms include:
- A sense of underachievement
- A lack of interest in school or other activities
- Changes in sleeping and eating habits
- A tendency for self-injury by cutting, burning, etc.
- Agitation and restlessness
- A lack of motivation
- Feelings of worthlessness and/or guilt
- Thoughts of suicide
- Drug or alcohol use
- Risky sexual behavior
It is important to note that self-injury/self-harm is the commonest warning sign of teenage depression.
Diagnosing Teenage Depression
Diagnosing depression in teenagers can be difficult. It is necessary that a qualified mental health professional thoroughly assesses the teenager. The overall developmental history of the teenager should also be taken into consideration when he/she is evaluated. The teenager’s behavior at home and school should also be taken into account.
Understanding how to communicate with a depressed teenager is of utmost importance. It is important to patiently and attentively listen to the teenager. Remember, don’t pressurize the teenager into speaking about their problem, but do encourage him/her to speak out if he/she feels inclined to.