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What Causes Teen Depression and How to Manage It

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As a teenager, have you been irritable and moody lately? Are you in a bad mood or is it something else? While most teens bounce back from a bad mood, others will feel hopeless and miserable for weeks or longer. Teens who suffer from depression are at higher risk for self-injury and suicide.

What causes teen depression? One leading cause is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Many other factors can contribute to depression, such as low self-esteem and stressful life events. If left untreated, teen depression could develop into adult depression or major depressive disorder. Here are the most common signs and some advice on how to overcome teen depression.

Extreme Sadness

One major sign of teen depression is extreme sadness that can last for several days or weeks. Teens who experience depression may have thoughts about suicide. They may talk about hurting themselves or committing suicide. When these feelings don’t go away, including the feelings of helplessness and worthlessness, that could be a sign you’re depressed.

Most teens don’t ask for help, which makes it hard to recover from depression. If you identify the signs of depression, try talking to an adult about it. Talking to your friends is not always enough in this case. Talk to an older person you can trust, such as a parent, mentor, teacher, or school counselor who can provide you with youth mental health resources. Since depression is a serious mental health disorder, it’s important to seek some sort of treatment.

Changes in Eating Habits or Weight

Teenage girls who suffer from depression are more prone to be obese or overweight, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. If you’re gaining weight, it could be a sign of depression. Changes in eating habits are another sign of teen depression.

If you have noticed changes in your weight or eating habits, it may be time to seek professional help. Speak with a counselor or therapist. It can be hard to open up your feelings with a stranger, but it will help you in the end. A mental health professional will allow you to express yourself freely without judging you. A professional therapist of counselor can also help you get the support you need to prevent you from becoming too far underweight or overweight.

Changes in Activity & Sleep Patterns

Teens who are depressed may experience disrupted sleep patterns. Some experience insomnia and have trouble going to sleep, while others sleep more than usual. Changes in activity levels can also be an indicator of teen depression.

Some teens may respond slower and have lower activity levels than others. Others seem aggressive and physically agitated. Some teens may have nervous habits, like chewing their nails, nervously pacing, or wringing their hands.

Take a good look at your activity and sleep patterns. Do you find yourself staying up at night and sleeping in all day? There are anxiety and depression support groups that can help you with depression. Check out a meeting to listen to stories. Get on a sleep schedule and stick to it.

Pick a bedtime and a wake-up time. Keep all electronic gadgets out of your room so you can focus on getting sleep. If you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, record your thoughts in a journal or read a book to help you fall back asleep.

Changes in Mood or Behavior

Some teens with depression abuse drugs and alcohol. Some often get into legal trouble or act promiscuous. Don’t brush off these signs as normal teen behavior. You might also feel hopeless or develop a negative attitude. You may feel discouraged, guilty, or worthless.

You could become extremely moody and may become easily aggravated or irritated. Those who suffer from teen depression may also have extreme changes in their temper. There are so many causes for teen depression. Some common causes include biology or teenage hormones, childhood trauma, family history with mental illness, domestic violence at home, or social isolation. If you have experienced one or more of these underlying sources of depression then it’s time to seek professional help.

Low Self-Esteem

Some teens who experience depression may have low self-esteem. They’re never satisfied with the way they look. They spend most of their time getting ready for school in the morning or other events.

Some teenagers need constant approval or reassurance from their friends and other peers. Teenagers who suffer from depression tend to think negatively about themselves and other things in general, so it’s important for you to find out why you feel this way.

If you notice these negative thought patterns, then it’s time to develop healthy thought patterns. Focus on the little things that you’re grateful for and the things you enjoy doing. Even getting out of the house and meeting new people can increase your self-esteem.

Withdrawal & Isolation

Teens who suffer from depression tend to withdraw from their friends and family. They’re not interested in the hobbies and interests they used to do. Look for any changes in your behavior, such as isolation and not being interested in the activities you once enjoyed. If you no longer want to participate in after-school or social activities, then it’s a potential sign of teen depression.

It’s time to re-learn the things you once enjoyed doing. People feel good when they’re helping others out. Walk your neighbor’s dog or help your parents set the table. Even these little activities can help you feel better about yourself.

Physical Pain

Other signs of teen depression include physical pain that doesn’t have a clear cause or diagnosis. Some of these symptoms include headaches, stomachaches, and sharp pains in other parts of the body. You may complain of being so tired that you no longer have the energy to do the activities you once enjoyed. You may also experience frequent and random crying spells.

If you find that you’re in physical pain, then you need to schedule an appointment with your family doctor to ensure nothing’s wrong with your health. If there’s no clear cause, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with a counselor or therapist. Many clinically depressed teens feel better once they get help and realize they can better manage their symptoms. Finally, if you or someone you know is suicidal don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.

If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.

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Author Bio: Patrick Watt is an Australian writer. He has researched and written content and articles for over 9 years. He is a contributor to many sites such as The Good Men Project and Tweak Your Biz. His interests also include management, productivity, mental health care, self and human development. Find Patrick on Twitter @patrickwattpat


Photo Credit: Pixabay

The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.

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