Depressed Boy - Discussion

Until 15 or 20 years ago, the idea of a depressed boy or depressed guy and depression in teens in general was largely unheard of, mainly because nobody noticed or treated young boys for depression. Over the years, however, with the number of suicide cases increasing among teens, many of which are boys, it has been discovered that boys between the ages of 10 and 18 are prone to depression too, just like girls.

Research indicates that teen boys suffering from depression are at a greater risk of getting into smoking, drug abuse and alcohol consumption as compared to depressed girls. While the ratio of depressed girls to depressed boys is about 2:1, the risk of suffering from bipolar disorder continues to remain the same for both boys and girls, although the risk of developing major depression and dysthymia is higher among girls.

Scientific reports also indicate that boys are at an equal risk as girls of contemplating suicide in their teenage years, and chances are boys could be more successful in such attempts as compared to girls.

It has also been noticed that boys are generally a little less communicative when compared to girls and tend to hide the signs and symptoms of being depressive cleverly. Therefore, parents, friends, and schools often fail to recognize these signs and depressed boys go untreated.

On the hand, boys often find solace in smoking, abusing drugs, and drinking in order to escape from depression-related symptoms. This not only creates more problems, but also increases other risks for them. Bipolar disorder is one form of depression that most boys develop between the ages of 10 and 16. It is therefore extremely important for parents, friends, and family to look for the following signs and symptoms in young boys who are demonstrating a change in behavior and attitude.

Alternating phases of depression and anxiety, where the depressed phase is marked with inactivity, loss of appetite, decreased communication, inability to complete work, absenting oneself from school and other social activities, while the anxiety or manic phase involves hyperactivity, overeating, sleepiness, increased communication, indulging in several tasks simultaneously, and a marked difference from the depressed phase.

Children who oscillate between two completely opposite behavior patterns should be watched carefully and, if signs persist, one must seek professional help immediately.

Symptoms that are demonstrated in depressed boys or during the depressed phase include:

  • Insomnia, lack of sleep, disturbed sleep patterns, and a marked decrease in energy levels.

  • Loss of appetite, accompanied by lack of interest in food that normally interests them.

  • Unexplained physical problems that often do not respond to treatment.

  • Inability to concentrate, focus and make simple decisions.

  • Pessimistic and negative approach and attitude towards most issues.

  • Excessive smoking, abusing drugs, or consuming alcohol.

  • Extremely sensitive to anything being told or questioned.

  • Attempts to run away or actually runs away from home.

  • Suicidal thoughts.

If five or more of these symptoms exist and last for over two weeks, you may well have a depressed boy or depressed guy on your hands, and one must consult a professional and seek help immediately. Boys are generally thought to be a little rebellious and develop attitude problems during teenage years. Most signs and symptoms of depression are then attributed to this, and the underlying problem of depression goes untreated.

Several cases of untreated depression often result in severe depression, which in turn result in suicide. Parents often only realize later that their child was suffering from this condition. Parents should thus educate themselves of the existing problems, learn to create awareness among young boys, and encourage them to speak their mind often. This will go a long way in preventing a healthy boy from becoming a depressed boy.

Boys and men often refer to depression as a women’s problem and see this as sign of weakness and fear being laughed at. This notion must be clarified and the fact that depression affects both genders should be inculcated in their psyche before it becomes too late.

Just like in girls, biological and stress factors contribute to depression in boys. Children who have a family history of depression are at a slightly higher risk of suffering from the condition as compared to those that do not.

In addition, there are several stress factors that contribute to depressed boys, such as peer pressure, divorce or separation of parents, illness, disability, death of a parent, physical appearance, obesity, fear of being abandoned, inability to score well in school, failure to meet parent’s expectations, and getting involved in drug abuse and alcohol consumption at a very young age. These are some of the factors that contribute to depression in boys.

Treatment for depressed boys is similar to that for girls and is a combination of counseling, psychotherapy, and pharmacotherapy. This is found to be extremely effective in not only healing young boys, but also helping them to cultivate a positive attitude towards life and the challenges they encounter on a day-to-day basis.

For depressed boys, therapy could include psychodynamic and cognitive behavior therapy, where a lot of importance is given to understanding their experiences and teaching them to overcome their challenges.

Also, generally speaking, treatment for a depressed guy should not be discontinued or stopped without seeking the physician’s or psychiatrist’s advice. Besides this, parents and friends should encourage boys to share their thoughts and feelings, learn to keep themselves occupied and become creative and productive with their time.

Parents should make it a point to watch out for signs of severely depressed boys who talk about suicide, because boys have a greater tendency to pull the trigger on themselves as compared to girls and might end up committing suicide in a weak moment.

Constantly monitoring them, or if suspected of severe depression, immediate hospitalization must be considered. Life is too precious to be lost in this manner and the pain and grief it is going to cause parents and loved ones must be reiterated to them in a gentle and understanding manner.


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