Everyone in life will experience moments of sadness or even prolonged periods of discontent. It is easy for us to use umbrella terms like ‘depression’ to describe these moments in our lives. We are upset, tired, and lacking positivity—that’s depression, right? Well, no, not exactly. Depression is a serious mental illness that can affect every part of our life. Depression is a serious thing because it can lead to many other mental problems that will eventually physically manifest themselves. While depression does affect people of all ages, races, and gender it seems to hit certain groups particularly hard. According to WebMD, one in ten teenage girls suffers from depression in their day to day lives. This is no small number. Depression in teenage girls is a serious problem in the world today. In order to understand the plight of the depressed girl we must first understand depression.
What Are the Basics of Depression?
Depression, at its root, is a mental condition that both brings you down and wears you out. Far different than normal sadness, which can be a reaction to normal life events, depression takes hold of your entire life. A depressed girl will feel no hope, happiness, or optimism. Depressed girls typically describe their condition as a continued feeling of ‘worthlessness.’ In order for a clinical depression test for teenage girls to be proven accurate, the depressed girl has to have five or more symptoms for a period of at least two weeks. Let’s go ahead and dig into some of the signs and symptoms of true, clinical, teenage girl depression.
What Are Signs of Depression in Teenage Girls?
To differentiate between clinical depression and the occasional bad mood, doctors explain that teen girls need to have five consistent symptoms for a period of at least two weeks. At this point the doctor will begin to take charge of the situation in order to remedy it, often by going to medication or therapy. Let’s take a look at the ten most common signs that a girl with depression shows.
- Disinterest in fun activities.
- A teenage girl that is suffering from depression will find that she no longer takes joy in the activities that had entertained her prior. She may no longer participate in an attempt to pull away and exclude herself from people around her.
- A sudden change of appetite.
- A depressed girl with depression will drastically change the amount of food she eats as well as her method of consumption. Some depressed girls report that depression makes them no longer hungry. Others report that depression makes them want to eat even more than normal. Bulimia and anorexia are also common eating disorders that appear during this phase.
- Dramatic mood swings.
- Even the cheeriest of young girls can be beholden to the whims of depression. Some girls with depression will start to act out in anger or irritability more often.
- Sinking feeling of sadness.
- One of the hallmark signs of true depression is the sinking feeling that things might never get better. This sadness manifests itself as a daily melancholic companion. The girl suffering may believe that she is worthless and that nothing will ever work out right.
- A sudden change in sleep schedule.
- In life there are many things that we change, but there are some that never seem to alter. We tend to sleep the same amount of time no matter what is going on in our lives unless we’ve been hit with depression. If a depressed girl starts sleeping much longer, or shorter, than normal, these are causes for concern.
- A lack of concentration.
- Does this teenage girl routinely forget small details? Does she refuse to make common decisions? Does she seem incapable of focusing for more than a few minutes at a time? Depression looms large for girls and can keep them distracted.
- A physical response.
- Don’t make the mistake of thinking that depression is only a mental problem. Depression can manifest itself physically for those that are suffering. Look for illnesses like cramps, aches, and digestive problems as signs of depression. A visit to the doctor for these symptoms should also be accompanied by comments regarding depression.
- A lack of energy.
- Fatigue is one of the most common signs of true, clinical depression. Clinical depression can feel like a vampire is sucking out your energy. Lethargy without any cause for it is a tell-tale sign that something is amiss.
- Struggles in school or the workplace.
- A depressed girl, will routinely find herself struggling in their professional life. Whether it is their school grades dropping or their performance at work, depression can be the culprit.
- Suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
- If you have ever heard a friend speak sadly about themselves it can be hard to understand. If a teen girl talks about death or ‘leaving family forever’ then you need to pay special attention. Depression can make great people do tragic things. Keep an eye out for signs of self mutilation or obsessions with death and act accordingly to prevent them from acting out.
How to Identify a Depressed Teenage Girl?
While depression is common in both genders, by the time a girl reaches early adolescence she will be twice as likely to suffer from depression as her male counterpart. A report by StudentsAgainstDepression.org shows that 10% of all students suffer from depression, yet the mental illness continues to go undiagnosed and untreated. So obviously this brings us to the question: Why? Why are so many girls dealing with depression? What can possibly cause the issue in a demographic of people that hasn’t had to face the hardships of adulthood?
Depression is reportedly caused by numerous different reasons. To keep things simple we would say that depression in teenage girls is caused by a combo of environmental, genetic, biological, and social factors. That is to say, that life causes depression. Studies show that depression can run in a family’s history for generations. For more specific causes of depression we will take a look at some of the most common threads:
- The loss of a loved one.
- Obviously the loss of a loved one is a sad event. People that can cope with it will eventually find a place emotionally where they can manage. Those that are prone to depression may be thrown into a tailwind. A close brush with death, especially if unexpected, can be traumatic.
- A change in environment.
- Many families will report that they notice depression in their children after relocation. Whether the family had to move because of a job opportunity or something else, depression can follow with them. Young girls realize subconsciously that an extreme change in environment is a scary and sad thing.
- The breakdown of a major relationship.
- The dissolving of a major relationship is often a catalyst in the lives of many girls who are prone to depression. Whether it is their parents divorcing or the loss of a significant other, the moment lands heavy and stays that way.
What Should You Do If You Are Depressed?
Depression is a mental illness that works like a ghostly vampire, sucking away your life without you ever really being able to fight back. If you can come to the realization that you are truly depressed then that is half of the battle right there. Once you acknowledge that you are truly depressed the next course of action would be to consult a doctor. Once you are there the doctor will try to identify how authentic your depression is so as to be able to treat it better in the next step. They will likely try to associate you with the different symptoms before coming up with a treatment plan.
What Can Treat Depression?
There are many ways to begin the long process of battling depression. You can’t just roll out of bed one day and feel better. To fight against clinical depression your consultation with the doctor will be integral. From there you will probably be recommended some sort of medication in order to get you back to your old self. Here are the most common treatments offered:
- The usage of antidepressants has become one of the most popular ways to attack depression. Antidepressants work on your serotonin and norepinephrine. Some of the most common and popular antidepressants are Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, and Celexa.
- Mononoamine Oxidase inhibitors, or MAOI’s, are one of the most tried and tested types of medications on the market. These are used for those that suffer anxiety and panic alongside their feelings of depression.
- Depression is not always a problem that can be remedied by a pill bottle. Sometimes sitting down with a therapist and discussing your problems is the only way to work through them. Do not be surprised to see your doctor suggest that you take such measures.
Depression is obviously a serious problem in the world today. With millions of people suffering from the illness every year, and a large chunk of them developing even worse problems, there is no reason not to pay the illness enough attention. Use the above information in your fight to stay informed and overcome the dangers of depression.