Teen depression is a very real problem. According to a WHO report, adolescent depression affects one in four adolescents in India, making it the highest in suicide rates among all Southeast Asian countries. Until recently it was thought that depression did not affect children and adolescents, but nothing can be far from the truth; Depression is one of the leading causes of death in adolescents, caused by untreated depression.
Teen depression can be a difficult condition to recognize, as it can show signs similar to normal teenage bad moods. So it can be upsetting to tell a teenager suffering from adolescent depression that they might just be experiencing mood swings. In fact, most teens feel unhappy and cranky at times. Adolescence itself is a turbulent time for children. With all the hormonal changes they go through and many other changes that occur in their lives, it is easy to see why they have such acute mood swings. Depression is a very different matter; it’s not just a bad mood. It is a serious mental health condition that can even lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It is a serious problem that affects all aspects of a teenager’s life. Untreated depression can lead to substance abuse (illicit drugs), academic failure, eating disorders, and even suicide.
But why do teens get depressed? There are a multitude of reasons why a teenager can develop depression. For example, it is easy for teens to develop feelings of worthlessness because their grades, academic performance, social status among their peers, or an unstable family life can affect the way a teenager behaves. Adolescents, unlike adults, do not have the ability to seek help on their own. They depend on their parents, teachers, or elders to help them recognize their suffering and provide the help they need.
How do you detect 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 gain.
· Easy irritability and anger.
· Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy.
· Social withdrawal, withdrawal from friends and family.
· Low energy and always feeling fatigued.
· Hard self-criticism.
· Thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
The signs are not always obvious, but they are the ones to watch out for as a warning sign. It is important to know what adolescent depression looks like and what to do if you detect symptoms. Your constant support could go a long way in helping them recover.