Depression in Teenagers

Teenage depression is a very real issue. According to a report by WHO, teenage depression affects one out of four adolescents in India, making it the highest ranked in suicide rates amongst all South-East Asian countries. Until recently, it was thought that depression does not affect kids and teenagers, but nothing can be far from the truth; depression is one of the leading causes of deaths in teenagers, caused by untreated depression.

Teenage depression can be a difficult condition to recognize as it may display signs similar to normal teenage moodiness. Hence, it can be bothersome to tell a teenager suffering from depression from a teenager who could just be experiencing moodiness. Indeed, most teens feel unhappy and moody at times. Teen years itself is a turbulent time for kids. With all the hormone changes they go through and many other changes happening in their lives, it’s easy to see why they have such acute mood swings. Depression is a very different matter; it is not just simple moodiness. It is a serious mental health condition that can even lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It is a serious problem that impacts every aspect of a teenager’s life. Untreated depression can lead to substance abuse (illicit drugs), academic failure, eating disorders, and even suicide.

But why do teenagers get depression? There are a multitude of reasons of why a teenager can develop depression. For example, it is easy for teenagers to develop feelings of worthlessness over their grades, academic performance, social status amongst peers, or an unstable family life can each affect how a teen behaves. Teenagers, unlike adults, do not have the ability to seek help on their own. They rely on their parents, teachers, or elders to help recognize their suffering and provide them with the help they need.

How do you spot the warning signs? Some of the prominent signs and symptoms in a teenager suffering from depression include:

· Feelings of sadness or helplessness.

· Low self esteem.

· Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.

· Lack of appetite or overeating resulting in weight loss or weight gain.

· Easy irritability and anger.

· Loss of interest in activities they once used to enjoy.

· Social withdrawal, keeping away from friends and family.

· Poor energy and always feeling fatigued.

· Harsh self-criticism.

· Thoughts of self-harm and suicide.

The signs are not always obvious, but these are the ones to be looked out for as a warning signal. It is important to know what teen depression looks like and what to do if you spot the signs. Your constant support could go a long way towards helping them get back on their feet.