Psychology 101: Depression in Teenagers

PSA: It is important to note that although friends, peers, and teachers can help the best help is a professional. Please do seek help from mental health care workers, this does not make you weak this makes you brave. They will be more than happy to help.

Teenage depression, a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Affecting feelings, thoughts, and behavior causing emotional and physical distress and problems. Depression can occur at any time in life symptoms vary in teenagers.

Issues such as peer pressure, academic expectations, and hormones bring ups and downs into the life of a regular teenager. However for some teenagers, the downs are more than just temporary feelings – they are a symptom of depression.

Depression is not a weakness nor something that can be overcome with willpower, it can have serious consequences and requires long-term treatment. Depression symptoms and depressive disorder are two different things. The medical community once believed that depressive disorder could only occur in adults or is a phase. It is a real disorder that interferes with everyday life, leading to suicidal thoughts and behavior.

What is depression?

  • A feeling of sadness, despair, or hopelessness that persists, the feeling can last for days, weeks, or months.
  • This interferes with the person’s ability to participate in everyday activities.
  • It affects mood, outlook, thoughts, and behavior.
  • It can also cause physical symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, headaches, insomnia, etc.

Teenagers with depression often see the world in a negative light, being overly critical of themselves, feeling worthless and unloved. They also might lose interest and motivation to participate in activities they used to enjoy. Furthermore, this may cause the inability to shower, brush their teeth, etc. They can drop out of activities and social events leading to isolation.

However, high functioning depression might make it seem like nothing is wrong and that they are living a normal life when in reality they’re struggling, which can lead adults to think that they’re “faking it for attention”. Which un-motivates them even further and roots negative thoughts in their head.

What are the common symptoms of depression?

  • Feeling deep sadness or hopelessness.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Loss of pleasure or interest in activities that once excited the teen.
  • Anxiety and panic.
  • Turmoil, worry, and irritability. The teen may brood or lash out in anger because of the distress he or she feels.
  • Difficulty organizing, concentrating or remembering.
  • Negative views of life and the world.
  • Feeling worthless and guilty.
  • Drastic changes in appetite or weight.
  • Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep or sleeping too much.
  • Lethargic, A depressed teen may often talk, react, and walk more slowly than other teens.
  • Avoiding and withdrawing from friends and family.
  • Restlessness. The restlessness brought on by depression may lead to behaviors such as fidgeting or acting up in class.
  • Self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

There’s no definitive way to prevent depression. However, these strategies may help.

Take steps to control stress, boost self-esteem to help handle issues when they arise
Reach out for friendship and social support, especially in times of crisis
Get treatment at the earliest sign of a problem to help prevent depression from worsening
Maintain ongoing treatment, if recommended, even after symptoms let up, to help prevent a relapse of symptoms

If you are suffering with depression, or if you think you are, know that your classmates, teachers, and family are there for you. If you need someone to talk to, contact a friend, teacher, or the school counselor as they’ll be happy to help. It gets better. This is a link to a hotline in Thailand

-Angel

Sources/Work Cited

“21 Incredible Mental Health Tips From A Neuropsychology Student.” InspireMore, 26 Feb. 2020, http://www.inspiremore.com/the-brain-coach-mental-health-tips/amp/.

Elizabeth Scott, MS. “How Is Stress Affecting My Health?” Verywell Mind, 3 Aug. 2020, http://www.verywellmind.com/stress-and-health-3145086.

“How to Help Children and Teens Manage Their Stress.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, http://www.apa.org/topics/children-teens-stress.

“Stress: How to Manage It: Ben – Support for Life.” Ben, 17 Mar. 2019, ben.org.uk/ben-blog/managing-stress/.

“Teen Stress Rivals That of Adults.” Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/04/teen-stress.

“Teenage Stress.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 8 Dec. 2015, www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/how-parent-teen/201512/teenage-stress.

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