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Depression in teens: an in-depth review

Depression in teens

Depression in teens

Causes behind depression in teens and how to help them

Unfortunately depression in teens is thought of as a phase of life which they will grow out of. However, this can be no further than the truth. Depression in teens is much more than just a phase. It is a real condition which can affect the teens ability to live a normal life and maintain relationships. It can also cause suicidal thoughts and behavior in the said teen. If left unresolved, it can affect the person throughout his or her life.

Before we start to look into what of depression in teens, we must understand what is depression itself.

What is depression?

Feeling sad and hopeless at some point of normal. However when this is the primary thoughts in your mind, their is a problem. A person is suffering from depression when the thoughts of despair, loneliness, hopelessness and sadness is a constant thoughts in the persons mind and does not go away.

People suffering from depression may feel this way for a period of weeks, months it even years. This inhibits the persons ability to enjoy their daily life, and inversely affects the ability to participate in everyday activities. Depression not only affects the thoughts, mood and behavior of the person, it also causes irritability, fatigue, insomnia, headaches and loss of appetite.

People going through depression view the world negatively. They feel overly critical towards themselves, unloved and worthless. The problems which are a part of our daily lives seem overwhelming to such people. They feel that they are at their breaking out and just want to give up on like itself.

What is depression in teens?

Depression in teens is a serious mental issue which leads to a loss of interest in activities which other teens would find appealing as well as a constant feeling of loneliness and sadness. Depression in teens affects their thought processes, their behavior, feelings and participation in daily life. It leads to physical, functional and emotional problems. Even thought depression can occur at any time of life, the symptoms tend to differ between adults and teens.

Highs and lows are a part of everyone’s life. However, in case of depression in teens, they may only feel the lows. This is a critical sign that the teen is suffering from depression. If you come across a teenager who has been constantly feeling unhappy for over a period of two weeks, chances are that the teen is suffering from depression.

Most teens feel unhappy sometimes. This is natural considering the hormonal imbalance they must be experiencing. These are also the most common causes behind the mood swings. However, according to the recent findings, one of every eight teen suffers from depression.

Causes behind depression in teens

Their can be multiple reasons as to why teens feel depressed or begin to suffer from depression. There can be many causes behind 18 suffering from depression. The most common reason behind the depression is that the team is in equipped to handle emotion factors which come with the stress. A few causes behind depression can be parental divorce, abuse, neglect, learning disabilities etc. Most often, when stuck in such situations, the team starts to feel depressed and powerless. These feelings may even progress into adulthood.

Other causes behind depression maybe performance in school, social status amongst peers, sexual orientation, negative body image, neighborhood poverty and violence, hormonal changes affecting the mood, physical illness, drug addiction, alcohol abuse or a difficult family life.

The above mentioned reasons are a few which may cause a teenager to become depressed. However, there are chances that a team who has not faced any of the above-mentioned challenges may also feel depressed. This might be caused by depression running in the family.

The exact cause behind depression in teens has not been elucidated yet. However, here are a few reasons which can act as contributive factors:

Chemistry of the brain: Our brain contains botanists which are natural brain chemicals responsible for varying signals from the brain to different regions of the body and vice versa. In case these chemicals are being produced in abnormal quantities or if they are impaired, the actions of the nervous system may get impaired, causing depression.

Hormones: imbalance in the hormonal level of the body can cause or act as triggers for depression.

Childhood trauma: Emotional or physical abuse during childhood, loss of a parent or other traumatic events can lead to changes in the brain which may make that person more susceptible to depression during teenage years.

Negative thinking patterns: If the teen has been in an environment which is more negative than positive, he or she may start to feel helpless in the face of a difficulty instead of trying to findable solution to the problem.

Risk factors predisposing towards depression in teens

Their are many factors which may predisposes a person towards suffering from depression in teen years. A few of them are as follows:

What are the signs of depression in teens?

Most often, teens with depression will show a noticeable change in their behavioral and thinking patterns. You may notice that they have lost motivation or become withdrawn. They may even start to close the bedroom door and stay in the room for hours. A few signs and symptoms of depression teens are as follows:

When should you consult a professional regarding depression in teens?

If you notice the signs and symptoms for a period longer than 2 weeks, if the stress starts to affect his or her daily life, studies, everyday activities or if you are worried about studies or about your teen conducting self harm, it is best to take your concerns to a doctor or a mental health professional.

You can go to your family doctor or you can ask at the school if they have any recommendations for good mental health practitioners.

In case of depression in teens, their is a high chance that the symptoms won’t go away on their own. The problems may aggravate or get worse and cause other medical issues if left unaddressed or untreated. Therefore, getting help as soon as possible is in your and your teens best interests. Teens suffering from depression are at greater risk of studies compared to adults even if the symptoms do not appear to be severe or like threatening.

If you are a teen who is suffering from depression or if you feel that your friend is depressed, it is advisable that you do not wait to get help. Go to a mental health practitioner like your school nurse or a doctor. Share your worries and concerns with your parents, spiritual leader, close friends It someone whom you trust and get help as soon as possible.

Diagnosis of depression in teens

There is no medical test which can diagnose depression in teens. Heath professionals and psychologists can figure out if a teen is suffering from depression by conducting psychological tests and interviews with the teen as well as his or her family members, peers and teachers.

The determination of the level of depression in teens and social risk are primarily based on the interview assessment. The recommendation of the treatment strategy is also based on the data that has been collected by the interviews.

The doctor or psychologist will also figure out if the teen is exhibiting signs of other psychological disorders like anxiety, bipolar disorders, substance abuse or psychosis. Next the assortment will be some to check if the teen is displaying any homicidal or suicidal tendencies. It has been observed that demand show more tendency of self mutilation and attempted discuss whole males have more tendency to go through with complete suicide.

When is emergency help needed?

Since suicide has often been observed to be associated with depression in teens and otherwise, If you are worried about hurting yourself or attempting the same, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number and get help.
In case of suicidal thoughts, there are other alternatives you can go for:
  • Call your psychologist or mental health practitioner
  • Call the studies hotline
  • Reach out to your loved ones or a close friend
  • Contact your spiritual leader
  • Ask for help from a healthcare provider or a doctor.

In case you are worried about a loved one committing suicide, do the following:

  • Make sure that someone is constantly with the person you are concerned about
  • Call the local emergency number or 911
  • Take that person to the nearest hospital or emergency.
  • Finally, do not ignore their plea of help or their concerns or comments regarding suicide. Get help as fast as you can.

Treatment of depression in teens

There are many modes of treatment of depression in teens like psychotherapy and medications. In case family conflicts are the reason behind the depression, family therapy might be needed. The teen will also need the support from teachers and family to help with the peer problems and school academics.

In case the teen suffers from a case of serious case of depression, hospitalization in a psychiatric unit might be necessary. The best course of treatment for depression in teen will be determined y the mental health care provider.

In case the teen is administered antidepressant medications, a close eye must be kept on the teen. According to the FDA, in rare cases, antidepressant medications can increase suicidal thoughts and behavior in adolescents suffering from depression or other psychological issues. In case you have questions regarding the medications, have a discussion rough It health care provider.

Depending on the case and severity of depression in teen, the therapist may choose to opt for ether talk therapy, medication or both. In case your child is not comfortable with the therapist, feel free to go to another one. Comfort in talking is the first step in the road to recovery.

A combination of both has been observed to work well. The antidepressant medication helps to fix the chemical imbalances in the basin. The negative thought patterns can be resolved via talk therapy. This will help the teen cope better with the depression.

Prevention of depression in teens

There is no perfect strategy to prevent depression in teens. However, the following strategies may be of benefit:

Take action to keep the stress under check:

Engage in activities which boost self confidence like art therapy, painting, sculpting etc. work on problem solving behavior and increase the resilience towards everyday stressors

Practice affirmations

Affirmations can help tremendously in boosting ones self confidence and esteem.

Reach out to close people during crisis

Do not alienate yourself when like is hard. Reach out to people who love you. It is never wrong to ask for support when needed

Maintain the current treatment in case recommended

Even after the symptoms of depression have faced, it is best to continue therapy put till your psychologist or mental health care practitioner says otherwise.


Problems are a part of our daily lives. No one has a perfect life. We must not let these problems being down or self confidence and faith. However, sometimes like seems bleak and hopeless. If you are a teen and have been feeling lonely, helpless and feel that you have no support in life, do not let it get to you. Engage in activities you are good at, go out, meet your friends, talk to your parents etc. However, if the feeling persisted longer than 2 weeks, consult with your medical practitioner and get help.

Depression in teens is on the rise due to  peer pressure, pressure of academics, high parents expectations, increase in dysfunctional family problems etc. The good thing is depression in teens is treatable as well as avoidable. Parents must learn not to be over protective, allow their child to make mistakes, be supportive of their kids, allow their clogs the freedom to discuss his or her problems etc.

In case you feel  that your child is suffering from depression, do not hesitate to call your mental health care worker. Do not let this problem slide by thinking that it isa phase. Do not ignore the plea of help in your child’s actions. Get help and ensure a better future for your child.

Frequently asked questions:

Can depression in teens run in families?
Yes depression can be hereditary. it usually starts between the ages of 15-30 . It has been observed to be more common in adolescents who have a family history of the same.

What are the treatment options for depression in teens?
Currently there are medications as well as psychotherapy options for treating depression in teens. The psychotherapy methods involve interpersonal therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Most often a combination of psychotherapy and medications are used for to treat depression in teens.

What are the signs of depression in teens?
To recognize depression in teens you must be aware of the symptoms. The warning signs of depression in teens are hopelessness, irritability, loss of interest in regular activities, lowering of grades in school, lethargy, loss of focus etc.

Why are teenagers angry and depressed?
Teenagers have to make sense of the hormonal changes they are undergoing in their body, as well as the changes they are experiencing in their emotions. They want to be in control but the stress of their life might make them angry, depressed or both.

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