Teenage is a vulnerable age, at time when a person is exploring their identity and craves acceptance of others. Self-esteem is fragile at this time, and the causes of depression in teens are many.
The depressed teen is not just your regular moody, temperamental young person – this is a person experiencing emptiness, hopelessness and despair which impacts every facet of life.
Causes of depression in teens
The exact cause of depression can be difficult to pinpoint, but as in adult depression, teen depression too could be due to combination of environmental, genetic, physiological and psychological factors.
There are certain risk factors that could predispose a teen to depression which parents should be aware of. If there is a family history or genetic predisposition to depression, this is a risk factor.
Girls are more prone to depression than boys. Anxiety disorders and conditions such as epilepsy, cancer and ADHD also are risk factors that contribute to teen depression.
Substance abuse can also lead to depression, as may certain personality traits (pessimism, defeatism, guilt etc).
The causes of depression in teens are many. Feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness can lead to depression. These feelings could stem from poor academic achievement, parental disapproval or social censure and even sexual orientation.
There could be various stressors in a teenager’s environment can could be depression triggers. Stressful or traumatic life events, childhood abuse, bullying, lack of family support, relationship problems, financial problems, loneliness or isolation, low self-esteem could also contribute to a teen’s depression.
Certain medications or birth control pills could also be among the reasons for teen depression.
It isn’t just one or other factor that could depress a teen; the causes of depression in teens are usually a combination of factors.
Symptoms of depression in teens
While some teens could appear apathetic, listless and low, others could exhibit other traits such as irritability that could mask what is really going on. A depressed teen could become aggressive and combative rather than quiet and sad.
Fatigue, headaches and other aches and pains, low energy levels, poor grades, forgetting, difficulty in concentration or making decisions could be other symptoms. Depressed teens could also show irresponsible behavior or rebellious behavior. Guilt, hopelessness or a preoccupation with dying could be other symptoms. Changes in eating and sleeping patterns could be other indicators.
Parents need to know about the risk factors as well as the causes of depression in teens and be vigilant about spotting signs and symptoms if any, so that the problem can be arrested before it escalates.