Why Do Teenagers Feel Depressed?
Teenagers and depression go together like peanut butter and jelly. No group on earth is as prone to becoming depressed as teens are. According to a study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 1 in every 12 juvenile adolescents suffer from major depression. There are many reasons for this, and not just one single factor. For most teens, the depression is only temporary and will resolve itself before they become an adult. However, for some it can be a sign of mental illness and may require the help of a doctor or prescription medication in order to overcome it. Let's take a look at some of the reasons teenagers get depressed, in order to understand why some teens are more affected than others.
Hormones and Puberty
Puberty is the most common cause of teen depression. When a child is going through puberty, their hormones become imbalanced, and this causes all types of changes in the brain. I'm sure you've noticed the changes in the moods of women going through pregnancy. They are well-known for having mood swings and intense cravings for foods they normally wouldn't eat a lot of. This is due to their hormones becoming imbalanced, and it's similar to what teens go through with puberty, though it may be different hormones that are affected. In layman's terms, hormones are cells in the body that basically send messages to other cells or receptors. For example, these messages can tell the body to feel happy, or sad, or to produce a certain chemical which can have an effect on reproduction or growth in the body.
Many studies have concluded that girls are much more likely to suffer from depression than boys, though depression does not discriminate and can affect anybody. This is probably because one hormone in particular, estrogen, is very important for girls who are going through puberty. This hormone may be prone to becoming imbalanced, though there are many other hormones that could also be affected. The two most common hormones associated with mood are estrogen and serotonin. Because the body produces too many or too little of these hormones, an imbalance can occur, and mood swings and depression can follow.
The situation is compounded by the fact that many teens are developing feelings for the opposite sex for the first time, and these feelings may become magnified due to their hormones. If an adult gets feelings for another adult, they may not be as intense as they are between teens. Because of this, many teens may view a situation as being more serious than it actually is, especially if they are rejected by a member of the opposite sex. Seattle is the suicide capital of the United States, and many people believe that it's because of the dreary weather and constant raining that plagues the city. For many teenagers, it's as if their brains are Seattle, and puberty is putting dark clouds and rain over their brain.
Many teens may have feelings of depression because they feel confused and uncertain about the future. They may not know what they want to do for a career, or may feel hopeless and uninspired. Some may even be afraid that they will never get married or meet a partner, because they haven't met anybody in their teen years, and they falsely think that this is when most married couples meet each other. Teens who have feelings like this may need guidance, and not necessarily from a guidance counselor. To resolve this issue, they need some type of adult figure in their life to let them know what they can expect as an adult, and to help them discover some options as to what they may want to do with their life. It's important for parents not to pressure their kids into choosing careers they may not want to do. We've all seen those movies where the father wants his son to become a doctor or lawyer just like him, but the son has different ambitions and we learn a valuable life lesson at the end of the movie. Keep this in mind if you are a parent who has set high expectations on your child. It's good for parents to inspire their children and help them find their calling, but try to allow them to find their own path in life, instead of pushing one on them that they may not want.
Some teenagers become depressed when they begin to realize that not everything in life is happy, easy, or peaceful. For many people, their first experiences around death and the hardships of life will occur during their teenage years. This is because they are no longer sheltered as they were when they were younger, and begin to learn more about the world and some of the depressing things in it. It may also be because friends or people they know may die or get into accidents. This is because teens are suddenly in more dangerous positions and doing more risky things than they were before, such as drinking, drugs, and driving cars for the first time, which can all lead to accidents and death. As teens begin to learn about the real world for the first time and the harsh realities of it, they sometimes tend to view things in an extreme manner because the first time they learn about these things can be very traumatic and they may think that life as an adult will always involve things such as this.
One common scenario that depresses is younger people, is when they realize that many people have to work for a living and that work is not always fun. They may be saddened because they feel that they will have to work a job they are not happy with the rest of their lives. This is irrational thinkining, because many people retire early or learn skills that allow them to work jobs they enjoy, but it is difficult for some teens to see this because they may presently be working a low wage job that they dislike.
Although bullying has been around since the dawn of time, and many movies make bullies look bad, for some reason bullying still exists today. You would think that bullies would watch some of the movies about High School and would be able to take a hint. Nonetheless, bullies still run rampant in schools all across the world, and this can be a major cause of depression for many teens. I myself suffered from bullying when I was in High School, so I'm all too familiar with the effects it has on a person's personality and ambition. Bullying was definitely the main cause of my depression as a teen, and this can lead to mental problems and chronic depression as an adult. If your child is being bullying, or if you're a teen and you're personally being bullied yourself, you need to take whatever measures you can to get away from it or make it stop. This is a serious issue and can have long lasting effects into adulthood.
Parents, though they may not realize it, can definitely contribute to the child's depression. This can be because of major changes in the home, such as a divorce between the parents, or a new addition into the family, or because a child does not agree with a parent's rules or guidelines. Parents should be somewhat aware of their children's feelings, and should take care and be careful when doing or saying certain things.
Sometimes adolescents can feel like they are being controlled by their parents, and since they are almost adults, they are yearning for freedom and are sick of waiting for it. For a 16 year old kid, two years can feel like a lifetime, so they may become frustrated by the fact that they have to live under their parents' roof until then. It's only natural for a child to disagree with the rules their parents give them, and they may not fully understand some of the dangers that can be found in the outside world. For example, if a child wants to stay out all night and go to places the parent doesn't feel are safe, the parent may tell them they can't, and the child might then feel like they have no freedom or room to breath. Feelings of suppression and restraint can easily contribute to a child's depression.
For kids who don't have many friends or are loners, they may need somebody to relate to, and can't find that in their parents. The age gap between parent and child may be too broad, and the kid may feel like they are misunderstood, which can contribute to feelings of being lonely and isolated. If a parent restricts their child from using the internet or communicating with other kids their age, this may be for their own safety, but can also contribute to their kid's depressive feelings.
Another possible trigger can be when a teen feels that they are not getting as much attention from their parents or family as they used to. This can be because they are growing up and are not treated like a child anymore, or it could be because of a new baby in the household or new family member. It can also be because a single parent has recently started dating or going out, or has a new boyfriend or girlfriend that takes attention away from the child.
Trend and Pleasure
Believe it or not, some people actually enjoy being depressed. It's almost like a type of fetish for some people, because they get off on being depressed and feeling sad, just like some people are sexually aroused by certain things when they have strange fetishes. For others, being depressed can give them a sense of individuality or a sense of belonging to something. A growing trend amongst teenagers today is the Emo trend, which is short for "Emotional". This trend most likely evolved from the gothic trend of the 90's, but took it a step further and made it different by associating it with a type of mood. Many teenagers may actually want to be depressed, so they can feel like they are a part of this group, or to feel some type of credibility amongst their peers. This type of interest will usually fade as a person enters adulthood and social groups become less important, though it can continue on indefinitely for some people if they genuinely want it to.
Medications can also most certainly play a role when it comes to depression or mood changes. These days, it seems that doctors are very quick to prescribe medications that people may not necessarily need. For example, if a young person has lots of acne on their face or body and wants to get it resolved, they might go see a dermatologist. Many skin doctors may not have the time or patience to work with their patients to try to find a natural solution to their acne problem, and may just quickly prescribe a harsh medication such as Accutane or antibiotics like Tetracycline. Many of these medications and pills have major side effects, and for some people, one of those side effects is depression. Accutane itself was discontinued, most likely because studies began to show that some teens commited suicide after receiving presciptions for it. Other medications that can cause problems are medicines that are actually intended to balance moods and treat depression. Depending on the person, they can sometimes have the opposite effect, and actually cause feelings of sadness and gloom in people. Even for people that they successfully treat, the withdrawal symptoms can cause similar effects if a person runs out or forgets to take their daily pill. I've seen many people go through major mood swings in situations just like this.
Teenage depression can also be caused by a mental disorder, disease, or other illness. While this is probably one of the rarest causes, any person who thinks this may be the cause should definitely see a doctor and have the necessary blood tests or mental evaluations done. Many younger people may go undiagnosed with a serious disorder because they failed to look for the warning signs. Bipolar Disorder, also known as Manic Depression, is probably the most common mental problem that is associated with symptoms of depression. Other possible disorders include Schizophrenia, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), GAD( General Anxiety Disorder), and for teen girls who have had recently had a baby, Postpartum Depression. There's also a disorder called Major Depressive Disorder, which is just a generalized disorder associated with depression, which has many different causes.
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