Causes of Teen Depression
There are several factors which are contributors and causes of teen depression.
While the most prominent ones are feelings of not being good enough, especially in the friends circle, constant failure in studies and low grades in school, loss of a loved one, breaking up with the girlfriend or boyfriend, feelings of guilt and self-loathing arising from being subject to physical abuse at a very young age, as well as the inability to handle internal and external stress in terms of physical and emotional changes that occur during adolescence are some of the causes of teenage depression.
Details of various causes of teen depression are as described below.
Physical Appearance and Personality
The media today dictates what a perfect figure should look like, what the style quotient should be, etc, and teens are highly influenced by the influence of the media, with all this information being taken very seriously. Being dissatisfied with themselves is one of the major causes of teen depression.
Girls, more than boys, generally take their physical appearance extremely seriously and being overweight or obese contributes to feelings of not being good enough or glamorous enough. In their attempt to lose weight and look great, they sometimes start starving themselves, become anorexic, and the entire focus is then shifted from reducing weight to eating disorders.
Some of them start smoking to kill appetite, and this is then followed by a high possibility of substance abuse and alcohol consumption. From this point onwards, most of them are not in a position to think rationally, and start missing school, try running away from home, etc, and need professional help to fix the problem. This issue of not being able to meet ones own standard of looking and feeling good often end up depressing teens, and is a big cause of teen depression.
Bad Grades in School
Students who do not fair well in their academic work and feel that they are not able to meet the standards they have set for themselves find it hard to handle failure or falling short. Bad grades or the inability to do well in school could also result in low self esteem problems, which in turn will again set the entire negative thinking loop going.
Constant feelings of not being good enough start circulating in their minds and this, ultimately, is another of the causes of teen depression.
Personal Loss / Break up in a relationship
Loss is another of the major causes of depression in adults. It is the same for teens. Teenagers who have gone through stressful events in life such as the loss of a parent, friend, sibling or break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, etc, generally find it difficult to cope with the situation. They are not comfortable expressing or sharing their grief, and internalize these emotions, and feelings of inability to handle the situation will be riding high on their minds.
Any signs of failure or rejection make them terribly discouraged and they will start withdrawing from social interactions and events. Eventually, random statements made by peers, teachers, parents, siblings, etc will act like triggers and anything said in jest or humor could be misconstrued; negative thinking will increase, making them extremely sensitive.
If this cycle of negative thought processes is not broken in time, sleep pattern, eating habits, personal health and hygiene will get affected and, ultimately, major clinical depression will result, and we will get depressed teens.
Victims of Physical Abuse
Little children or teens who have been abused physically grow up with feelings of guilt, shame, and self hatred. They also do not know how to deal with the situation. More often than not, people who are known to the parents, siblings, or family are responsible for such heinous acts.
Out of fear or shame induced by the criminal, the victims of such abuse are not able to share the traumatic experience. In an attempt to block out these experiences, they tend to find escape mechanisms, which could be drugs and alcohol. Both these escape routes do not help; in fact, they add to the problem. Ultimately, the teens inability to cope with their own feelings ends up making them depressed.
This is probably one of the more unfortunate causes of teen depression.
Physical and Emotional Changes during Adolescence
The human body, with its enormous network of neurotransmitters, introduces a lot of anatomical, physiological and psychological changes during adolescence. Sometimes, teenagers are not able to understand these changes well, and this becomes another of the causes of teen depression.
Hormonal changes during PMS in girls, for example, acts as a trigger for mood swings and anger, resulting in negative emotions like rebelliousness, etc, and this sours their relationships with parents and friends. Ultimately, without understanding the real cause of the problem, teenage girls could get it all wrong and develop negative attitudes and behavior patterns.
Some psychiatric disorders could also surface during adolescence; for example, children who have a family history of bipolar disorder could sometimes show signs of bipolar depression during their teens. Thus, with family history of mental condition being one of the possible causes of teen depression, if such is indeed present, it might be advisable to seek professional help.
With a little support from parents, friends and family, teens will learn to cope with the stress of growing up in todays extremely competitive world. Encouraging them to keep themselves occupied doing creative and constructive work will help them channelize their enormous amounts of energy in a positive way.
It is extremely important for parents or guardians to ensure that teens are always kept busy, especially by engaging them in equal amounts of physical and mental activity. Otherwise, these young and impressionable minds can get easily distracted and start a completely negative line of thought and activity which could be destructive.
By working together, we can help to keep the common causes of teen depression at bay.
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