What is Teen Depression?

Throughout our lives, we will experience periods of depression. For example, the loss of a pet, a loved one, or even a job can brings on prolonged periods of sadness. But depression that consumes your life can be dangerous and even deadly. At least 16 million Americans are impacted by depression, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and young people between the ages of 18 and 25 are 60 percent more likely to suffer depression than people 50 or older.

For teenagers, depression can leave them feeling unvalued and unloved during a critical stage of their lives. Infinite sadness and increased isolation from their peers can have damaging short and long-term effects on a young person’s grades, peer relationships, mental and physical health. Left untreated, a teenager’s descent into depression can lead to catastrophic life choices.

Depression is diagnosed following two weeks or more of persistent low mood, according to the National Institute for Mental Health.

How Do I Identify Depression In My Teen?

It is wrong to dismiss a teenager’s nihilistic worldview or rejection of parents and peers as a “phase,” as these types of behaviors – hopelessness, separation, loss of self-esteem – are serious signs that a young person may be suffering from depression. Hopelessness, separation, and a loss of self-esteem are serious signs that a young person may be suffering from depression. Prolonged periods of sleeplessness, fatigue, or a change in eating habits can also signify the onset of depression.

Other symptoms of depression in teens may include:

  • Lack of focus and trouble concentrating
  • Persistent talk of death or suicide
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Changes in appearance, neglecting hygiene
  • A decline in school performance and a resistance to improve

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What Causes Teen Depression?

Depression can be inherited or linked to changes in hormones. It can also be brought on by the constant pressures that impact teens every day. A teenager’s life is full of ups and downs, and some of the influencing factors can include:

  • Peer pressure
  • Academic pressure
  • Relationship troubles
  • Parental job loss or family financial struggle
  • Family tragedy or trauma

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, there is no single cause for depression, and it can impact people across all social and economic backgrounds.

What are the Teen Depression Options?

Once a teen has received a diagnosis for depression, parents can decide the best way to treat the problem. Forms of treatment can include:

  • The Food and Drug Administration has approved drugs to treat depression in teens, but it is recommended that parents consult with a doctor before selecting this option.
  • This can be done one-on-one or in a group setting.
  • Depending on the severity of the depression, some teens may require psychiatric treatment in a hospital setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is depression a mental illness?

Depression is not classified as a mental illness, but a treatable disorder.

Is there a cure for depression?

While depression can be treated, there is no surefire cure. Treatments including medication and therapy can help a person live with depression, but it cannot be overcome through sheer willpower and positive thinking.

How do I know if my teen is having a depressive episode?

A major depressive episode is defined as a period of low mood that last for two weeks or more.

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