Overview Of Teen Depression
Teen depression is defined by intense feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, and hopelessness that last for long periods of time. Teen depression is the exact same as adult depression, just that it’s present during a person’s teen years. Depression is a serious medical illness, and is much more than feelings of just being sad or “blue” for a few days.
Depression will make it hard for a person to function normally in their lives, or do their usual activities. Those with depression will often have trouble focusing on things, and may have no motivation or energy. Depression will often make life feel hard to enjoy, and in some cases it may be hard just to get through the day at all.
Commonly Associated With
Causes Of Teen Depression
Many factors are thought to play a role in the development of depression. However, no exact one cause has been discovered yet.
Some known factors that could play a role in teen depression include:
- Brain biology and chemistry, which vary from person to person
- Genetics (as depression is known to run in families)
- Hormones, as hormonal changes can contribute to depression in some cases
- Stressful childhood events such as trauma, abuse, the death of a loved one, or bullying
Symptoms Of Teen Depression
Common general symptoms of depression (that are not exclusive to teens) include:
- Difficulties with concentrating, making decisions, or recalling information
- Tiredness or lack of energy
- Restlessness or difficulties sitting still
- Anger, irritation, or frustration, even at minor things
- No longer caring about things or activities the person used to enjoy
- Feelings of emptiness
- Weight changes, such as losing weight without dieting or gaining weight from overeating
- Sleep changes, such as trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or sleeping a lot more than usual
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Thinking about dying or considering suicide (this is a very serious symptom, and considered an emergency – those with suicidal thoughts should seek help immediately)
Exams & Tests
If a teen feels depressed, they should tell someone they trust, such as:
- Parents or guardian
- Counselor or teacher
From there, the teen will visit a health care provider to ensure that some physical health problem is not causing their symptoms. In order to rule that out, they may need a physical and lab tests.
Then, if other health problems have been ruled out, the teen may see a mental health professional for a psychological evaluation.
Treatment Of Teen Depression
Effective treatments for teen depression often include something called talk therapy, or talk therapy along with medications.
Common types of talk therapy include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (identifying and changing unhelpful and harmful thought patterns)
- Interpersonal therapy (improving a person’s relationships)
It’s common for medication use to go along with these therapies. But, it’s important to note that many antidepressants take 3-4 weeks of consistent use for any results to appear for the person. Also, many patients have to try several different medications and medication doses before they find one that works best for them.
But, it is very important to note that teens may experience a dangerous increase in suicidal thoughts or behaviors when using certain antidepressants. Because of this, teens need careful monitoring when first starting a new medication or changing doses, to be sure of how it affects them.
With severe cases of depression, patients may need admitted to a psychiatric hospital, especially if they are at risk of hurting themselves. Day programs also exist, for those who are not severe enough to need admission to a hospital.