Adolescence is a phase in which a person tries to figure out who they are and what they want in life. In those difficult years, a young person needs love, guidance, and acceptance. Many times, however, this is not the case and many factors can lead to depression in teenagers. Research states that about 20% of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood, so depression in teenagers is a serious issue that we need to pay attention to.
|SEE ALSO: What Causes Depression?|
The Leading Factors of Depression in Teenagers
Mental health statistics in the UK shows that there are around 62,000 cases of serious depression in teenagers and preteens between the ages of 11 and 16. Listed below are some of the factors that can lead to depression:
– Children left in charge of other children
– Parental neglect
– Traumatic events
– Low self-esteem
– Family financial struggles
Who Is to Blame for Depression in Teenagers?
The responsibility of having to look out for younger brothers and sisters or living in a household with extended family members can lead to feelings of resentment and bitterness. Many times the situation is not resolved until the teen is old enough to move out.
Neglect is a form of abuse. Some parents do not provide their children with their basic physical and emotional needs, whether it is food, clothing, shelter, or even taking care of their personal hygiene. This is not easily identified by other people who may think the parents are busy with their work or are under a lot of stress in their lives. Sometimes older children take over the role of the parent and start taking care of themselves and their younger siblings, which forces them to act like adults when they haven’t yet fully developed.
Some socially prominent young adults become victims of circumstances when their parents put them on a lower perspective and leave them to themselves. As long as their teen is not hurting society or giving any problems that they can see, these parents feel the child is fine. A teen without proper supervision can develop a personality change for the worst.
Abused children live a singular, hermit lifestyle that goes undetected and many times they are labeled as snobbish or anti-social. Their depression can take the form of severe seclusion. If a child reacts in this way it is important to find out why.
Low self-esteem is a common phenomenon among modern-day teenagers. The pressure put on young adults by the fashion industry to look a certain way and have a “specific body type” is causing many teenage girls to lose their confidence in themselves. Teenagers find it stressful to always try to conform to cultural and social norms. The feeling that they don’t fit in may not leave until adulthood. Teenagers that suffer from low self-esteem view themselves as inadequate, unlovable, and incompetent. This negative view of themselves affects their entire existence and they feel discouraged to pursue any goals because they feel they will never be able to do anything properly. According to research, 75% of girls with low self-esteem were reported to engage in negative activities like self-cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating.
An adolescent can be the victim of a horrible experience; he or she may also feel incapable of coping with the death of a loved one. Adolescents may also be the victims of physical abuse. Poverty, whether sudden or life-long, is another common reason for teenage depression. The frustration of not having basic needs met and the struggle to survive can put a tremendous damper on a child. The need to break free from a negative situation like this has caused many teens to go astray.
Ramifications of Depression in Teenagers
If a young adult’s needs are not met, their state of depression can lead to serious issues. Below are some of the damaging ramifications of depression in teenagers.
– Mental illness
– Lack of productivity at school
– Drug and alcohol abuse
– Violence towards others or oneself
– Indulgence in negative activities, such as playing violent games and listening to songs with illicit content
Other severe mental illnesses can develop from depression. Victims of depression are nervous, anxious, touchy, temperamental, and at times psychotic and can even develop a persecution complex. Signs of this are a lack of attentiveness and interest in school work and/or other activities. When a teen develops symptoms like these, they must get help right away.
Many times drugs are used as an “escape” from depression. The user experiences a “high” feeling of exhilaration, but afterwards, when the effects of the drug wear off, the feeling is replaced with depression, fear, illness, and the desire to have more. Sometimes a teen will turn to crime to get the attention they crave or will display fits of violent behaviour to give vent to their frustrations.
The Dungeons and Dragons Dilemma
Back in the 1980s, a game called Dungeons and Dragons was reportedly responsible for the suicidal tendencies of teens that played the game. The game was set up where members became ‘virtual’ characters in the game. Participants became so emotionally involved that they slipped into depression and committed suicide if they were no longer allowed to participate.
Prevention is Better than Cure for Depression in Teenagers
Depression in teenagers is more common than most people think, so it is important for parents to follow the following tips to keep their teenage sons and daughters safe.
– Monitor where your child goes and with whom.
– Check your child’s school books to find out if there are any doodles or scribbles that mention damaging self-destructive behaviour.
– Pay attention to your child’s participation in cults that promote negative activities.
– Search through your emotional background and that of your spouse to see if there is a history of depression in any of your families.
– If your teen shows signs of depression, take them for counseling; make sure the setting is comfortable so the child can feel at ease.
Take Positive Action with Depression in Teenagers
Prohibit the use of (and participation in) books, video games, movies, television programs, board games, magazines, and CD’s with songs that have lyrics which contain any elements that give a negative display of lifestyle. A young adult is very impressionable and many of these forms of entertainment will have a lasting impact on them.
Review everything your teenage son or daughter takes part in. If you feel they are in danger, ban them from certain activities, hobbies, or being with an adverse group of friends; explain why you are doing it and that you love them and care about them. In the future, they will thank you for it.
It may be that many people dismiss teenage depression as a phase that the teenager will grow out of; however, if not treated properly, teenage depression can escalate and the situation may grow out of the parent’s control. Many teenagers wish they had better communication with their parent, so that they could share frequent and more open conversations. Protect your teenage son or daughter and learn more about teens and depression.