Today, many teens are diagnosed with depression, and even more suffer from it without ever speaking to a professional. There are several different causes for teen depression, and this disorder is often something that shows up before a teen attempts suicide. This is why screening for depression in teens is so important and why it is being performed at so many pediatrician offices today. If a teen is showing symptoms of depression, it is important to talk to their parent and get the teen some help. Over 50% of teens with depression do not seek therapy or medical attention. Thus, parents should keep a close eye out for any signs of depression in their children and be proactive getting help for them. Below are three major causes and contributors of teen depression.
Teen Peer Pressure
Teens today face a lot of stressful circumstances on a day to day basis. Teens may feel isolated, different from others and tormented by peer pressure. This is a major factor leading to teen depression. Today, problems such as violence, gossip and bullying are a big part of the peer pressures teens’ face. Since a teens’ brain is not completely developed, they do not have all the logical skills to know how to work through these situations of peer pressure.
Various Life Changes
Teens who face a lot of changes in their lives may suffer more bouts of depression. Some teens face major life changes such as death in the family, divorce of parents, relocation away from good friends and loss of a friendship that puts a great amount of stress on the teen. Teens tend to overreact to stressful circumstances and changes in life. This can cause a lot of negative feelings, thinking and eventually depression.
Drugs, Alcohol and Negativity
When teens abuse drugs and alcohol, it often leads to depression. Because alcohol is a depressant, it will impact the mind which leads to depression. Drug use can also impair the mind of a teen so that it does not function properly which can lead to depression. When teens are depressed, they limit their social interaction, their grades might drop and they might attempt suicide or drop out of school. Many teens will begin to fight with their peers and parents. When teens are stressed and abusing drugs and alcohol, it makes them think negatively. Consequently, this leads to depression.
Teens must work on focusing on the more positive aspects of their lives and try to avoid the causes of depression. It is helpful for teens to spend more time with achievement-oriented and positive friends. By participating in activities and hobbies that bring happiness, the teen will help prevent depression. Some of the other ways to prevent teen depression is by getting enough sleep, talking to a parent, guidance counselor or doctor if stressed out or in crisis mode, avoiding thoughts that are pessimistic, avoiding listening to music that is depressing or about suicide, staying away from friends who are involved with drugs and alcohol and by eating a balanced, healthy diet.
Make sure you communicate that teens should never be afraid to reach out to a teacher, parent or medical professional when they feel depressed. Explain why making an appointment with a therapist to talk about depression symptoms is helpful. It may be awkward or seem unnecessary, but it could very well save a life, so make it a point to articulate the resources available to the teen(s) in your life.
Katherine Jennings writes about parenting, mental health and education. Her best work discusses online psychology degrees.