The stigma around mental health has resulted in a lack of awareness about depression. Depression is a serious mental condition that can affect adults, teenagers, and even children equally. Adolescence is a particularly sensitive period when many physical and emotional changes happen in a person’s life, which can be confusing.
According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, more than 3.2 children aged 5 to 17 were diagnosed with depression. When a child reaches their adolescent years, the likelihood of developing teen depression increases.
An adolescent can experience academic, social, and family pressures that lead to feelings of abandonment and not being recognized. Adolescents are not usually upfront about how they feel, which makes diagnosis challenging.
Teen depression is a severe mental condition that must be treated carefully, and contacting a psychiatrist like Dr. Anil Yadav is important. Awareness of adolescent depression and its diagnosis is the first step toward its treatment.
1. Depression Symptoms in a Teenager:
Teen depression manifests itself in several ways. According to numerous studies, one out of every five adolescents suffers from clinical depression. Depression is frequently related to high levels of stress and anxiety and, in extreme circumstances, suicide. Depression is sometimes dismissed among teens due to their unstable mood swings, but depression symptoms in a teenager are not different from clinical depression in adults.
There are a few depression symptoms in a teenager that you should be aware of.
- Sadness and irritability: While mood swings and bouts of anxiety are natural, if they last more than two to three weeks, they may indicate depression. Persistent sadness and fear are two of the early indicators of depression.
- Changes in weight or appetite: If you observe your teen losing or gaining weight or notable changes in their hunger, this might suggest that they are stressed or depressed. It is not a definite indicator of sadness, but one of the most typical symptoms of depression is a tendency to eat less or overeat.
- Difficulty concentrating: If your kid or teen is performing poorly in school despite being a good student, this might be a sign of depression. Difficulty concentrating at school or other extracurricular activities might be an early warning sign that should not be ignored.
- Lack of interest in activities: An adolescent’s abrupt loss of interest in hobbies that they used to enjoy might be concerning. Depression can cause a person to lose interest in formerly enjoyable activities.
- Alcohol abuse or drug consumption: Teenagers’ substance abuse and drinking is frequently related to peer pressure and depression. A teenager suffering from depression or chronic anxiety may seek solace in substance addiction.
- Changes in sleeping habits: A difference in a teenager’s sleeping habits might indicate depression. Oversleeping or insomnia might indicate a severe issue. Depression is frequently related to excessive sleeping because it causes a person to lose interest in other things and accomplish routine tasks.
- Self-injuries: Teenagers may attempt to injure themselves and engage in self-injurious behavior such as cutting and injuring themselves after experiencing a great deal of stress and depression.
In addition to these, some other depression symptoms in a teenager include:
- Restlessness and agitation
- Withdrawal from friends
- Less communication
- Inadequate hygiene
- fury and rage
- Rebellious behaviors
All of the symptoms listed above are not always indicative of depression. Several indications can be seen if you look closely. Keeping a careful eye on such changes in behavior and symptoms can assist in identifying issues early and taking appropriate action.
2. Cause of depression in a teenager
Depression can be induced by a variety of circumstances, including neurochemical abnormalities in the brain, peer pressure, and trauma.
3. Why is teenage depression so common?
Teenagers go through a lot of emotional and physical changes, and adolescence is one of the most sensitive times in their lives. Loss of a parent, bullying, a lack of social or emotional support, a lack of friends, peer pressure, and academic pressure are all risk factors for adolescent depression
The following are some of the most common causes of teenage depression:
- Neurochemical imbalances: The human brain is a complex structure. The brain contains neurotransmitters that help brain cells communicate with one another. The most essential neurotransmitters are serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine. A sufficient amount of these neurotransmitters is required for proper functioning. Depression is commonly related to an imbalance of these neurohormones. According to studies on teen depression, low levels of dopamine and serotonin are a significant cause of depression in teenagers.
- Childhood trauma: a lack of affection and care as a child, or any other severe traumatic incident, can lead to a lack of effective coping mechanisms later in life. When a kid or adolescent experiences severe childhood trauma, they are more likely to develop depression.
- Sexual and physical abuse: a history of sexual or physical abuse can leave long-lasting traumatic impressions on the brain, interfering with normal healthy functioning and leading to serious depression in teenagers.
Depression is not just a fad, and it does not go away on its own. A person suffering from depression requires round-the-clock support, care, and medical attention.
So, how to deal with teenage anxiety and depression?
Teenage depression is often treated with a mix of medication and therapy, both of which are critical.
Consultation with a psychiatrist and therapist becomes critical following a medical diagnosis of depression in an adolescent. Depression is medically treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These are antidepressant drugs that are administered to assist in alleviating depression symptoms. These medications help the brain in using serotonin. Citalopram and Fluoxetine are two of the most often prescribed FDA-approved drugs. There can be side effects associated with medications. These medications must be taken only after a correct diagnosis and under the supervision of a licenced psychiatrist.
How to overcome teenage depression?
Qualified mental health professionals and psychiatrists may greatly assist in the treatment of depression. Cognitive behavioural therapy or interpersonal therapy can be used to treat depression, and both are equally effective. Going to counselling can assist teenagers in better managing their emotions and channelling their energy in a positive direction. With the support of a psychiatrist like Dr. Anil, it can help individuals overcome their trauma and create stronger coping mechanisms.
Lifestyle changes, in addition to medicine and counseling, are critical. Slight modifications in your lifestyle, such as exercising more, getting adequate sleep, eating nutritious meals, and abstaining from alcohol, can all help.
What steps can be taken to avoid teen depression?
In the case of adolescent depression, prevention is preferable to treatment. A strong support system, proper trauma management, and the development of appropriate coping mechanisms can all assist in preventing depression. Good communication is critical in preventing depression in your adolescent. Making an effort to listen to them and talk to them about their concerns will assist them in developing trust in you.
Dr. Anil is a renowned psychiatrist in Delhi who is sympathetic and well-versed in dealing with adolescent depression. Consultation with a psychiatrist can be exceedingly tricky and unsettling, but it is the first step toward a better future for the teen. On the other hand, a good psychiatrist can help you combat depression and live a better, happier life.