What Is Teen Depression?Teen depression can be different from adult depression. It’s a mental and emotional disorder that can interfere with a teen’s ability to get through the day. A teen who suffers from depression struggles with negative thoughts that can sometimes lead to inappropriate behaviors. The causes of depression are many, so it can be a challenge to identify one or more of the reasons a teen suffers from the disorder. It can be from relationships at home or at school. It can be peer pressure, a changing body, or peer pressure. The expectations placed on a teen to excel academically can be difficult to handle, and that can lead to depression. Genetics places a huge part in teens developing depression, too. Between 20 to 50 percent of teens who are diagnosed with depression have a family history of it.
The Prevalence of Teen DepressionTeen depression is much more common than we think. One out of five teens suffers from depression. Females are more likely to suffer from depression. Depression is the most common disability for people aged 15 to 44 in the United States. Those with depression disorder may also have a co-occurring disorder such as mood disorder, substance abuse problems, anxiety, or antisocial behaviors. These statistics do not include teens who never reveal their depression. Many teens live with depression and no one knows it. The consequences of the untreated depression are attributed to other factors such as “just being lazy” or “not being smart.” This can be carried on forever by the person and affect his or her entire life. This is sad since all that needed to be done was treat the depression.
Suicide Risk and Other Consequences of Teen DepressionThe problem is that not all teens reach out for help when they are suffering from depression. Only 1 in 5 will receive help. Every year, about 5,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 kill themselves. It is the third leading cause of death for teens. What’s important for us to know is that four out of five teenagers who commit suicide gave clear warnings they were about to do it. The following are some signs a teen may be thinking about suicide:
- Threatening suicide
- Obsessed with death
- Writing about death
- Giving their friends and family their belongings
- Exhibiting bizarre behavior
- Feeling guilty, shameful, or rejected in some way
- Not sleeping enough or sleeping too much
- Eating more than usual or not eating as much
- Not doing well in school
- Loss of interest in activities
- Becoming irritable and angry quickly
- Feeling sad most of the time
- Family conflicts
- Poor academic performance
- Running away from home
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Abusing drugs and alcohol
- Becoming addicted to a substance or the Internet
- Take time to listen actively with eye contact, nodding, and asking questions without judging.
- Be gentle with requests.
- Validate their feelings are real and that there is a reason for them.
- Always offer to help. Teens often feel helpless when depression, but knowing there is someone who is willing to help can matter.
- Any talk of suicide should be taken seriously and acted upon immediately.