1. Is Peer Pressure Causing Teens to Become Depressed?

    May 8, 2014

    Is Peer Pressure Causing Teens to Become Depressed?

    Teen depression is becoming more and more common all around the world. Teens are known to have a hard time becoming their own person. Their pasts’ and the present affect how well-adjusted they become. If signs of depression are presenting themselves, they should be treated right away.  However, most teenagers who come down with depression aren’t sure how to handle it or where to turn for help. If signs of depression are presenting themselves, they should be treated right away.

    There are many causes of depression in teens, way too many to list but here are some of them:

    Stress Academically: School can cause a lot of stress for teens including the pressure to get good grades, make friends, be popular, get in with the “cool” crowd, what classes to choose, what sports to be a part of, and all of the homework that they are required to do. Other stresses include the pressure of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. Each factor listed above is a major cause for depression in teenagers.

    Peer Pressure: Everyone, especially teens, want to be liked by their peers. When children become teenagers, they are still trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Most teenagers are looking to be popular in their group of peers. Some of the ways they attempt to reach their popularity is often through trying drugs and risky behaviors. They may also change who they are to become who the popular crowd would like them to be. This can lower the teenager’s self-esteem quite a lot. This type of peer pressure often claims many teens mental state which causes depression.

    Relationship Break-Ups: Teenagers aren’t usually ready for serious relationships. However, there are many teens that are dating and falling in love prematurely. This is not saying that teenage relationships can’t last forever but the honest truth is that most of them don’t last past high school. However, this fact doesn’t make a break-up any easier. When a break-up occurs, it will often leave the teen feeling helpless and depressed. This is one of the most common causes of teenage depression.

    Divorced Parents: In another regard to relationships, when a teenager has to deal with their parents getting divorced, they can become very confused. They may also feel guilty as well. It is important to note that parental divorces are never the child’s fault. However, the guilt that the teenager feels often manifests itself as depression. If this is the case, the teen should see a therapist or a counselor right away.

    Genes: There are many illnesses that are linked to heredity. Many studies have linked depression to genetic traits. If a teen has a family member who has had or is suffering from depression, they are more likely to have depression themselves.

    Having Low Self-Esteem: Unfortunately, there are many teenagers who suffer from low self-esteem. There are many reasons for this including acne, not having what they consider enough friends, and sometimes even the parents aren’t supportive enough.

    If a teenager is dealing with any of the above mentioned factors and they are feeling depressed they should talk to a therapist or a counselor as soon as possible. If they are dealing with any of the above issues and they aren’t depressed, it still may also be a good idea for them to see a therapist or a counselor to talk their feelings through before depression takes over.

    The first step in battling depression for teens is coming to an understanding of what is happening to their lives and their own bodies. Once they can grasp these understandings, they will be more likely to get out of and stay out of depression. While therapy or counseling is the first recommended treatment for depression in teens, some cases of depression do require anti-depressant medications. It is not a bad thing if a teenager has to be put on these medications; it just means they are getting their depression under control. If you are a teenager and you are feeling signs of depression please contact someone right away. Also, if you are a friend or a parent of someone who has signs of depression ask for help as well.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/merfam/71578640/

  2. Teenage Depression – A Short Guide for Parents

    December 18, 2013

    Teenage Depression

    Just about every teenager has bouts of sadness, as the teen years can be somewhat difficult and confusing at times.  Sad moods are one thing, but depression is another. Teenage depression is much more than sadness and can become a problem if not recognized or treated.  It can certainly lead toward problems like substance abuse, self-mutilation, aggression, and suicide.  As a parent, you probably think that your teen would not struggle with depression, but a high number of teens do, so it is important to recognize the signs.

    Signs and symptoms

    The teen years can be challenging, as teens have to face all sorts of pressures, hormones, challenges, and so on.  Many teens wrestle with questions about who they are and how they fit in.  They also can have issues with parents resulting in conflict.  As teens embark on their journey to independence, they certainly hit some bumpy spots on the road, and sometimes they can enter a period of sadness. This state of sadness is common and usually does not pose a problem or last too long. It is when the sadness intensifies and lasts for weeks and months that the teen enters into a state of depression.

    Here are the most common characteristics of teenage depression:

    • Extreme sadness
    • Lethargy
    • Frequent crying
    • Irritability
    • Fatigue
    • Problems getting to sleep or sleeping all the time
    • Restlessness
    • Hopelessness
    • Suicidal thoughts
    • Aggression
    • Change in eating habits


    How depression affects teens

    If a teenager is struggling with depression, he or she will most likely have some problems in various areas of life.  Though some teens may be able to keep problems to a minimum, others will act out their depression at home and/or at school.

    At school the teen’s grades could drop, he may skip classes or days, be aggressive toward peers or teachers, or drop out. At home the teen can withdrawal from family and friends, be rebellious, act out, turn to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate, get addicted to the internet, and engage in high-risk behaviors like substance abuse addiction, unsafe sex, or crazy driving behaviors.

    What to do if you think your teenager is suicidal

    If your teen is talking about suicide or if you think he or she is suicidal for any reason, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.  You will be given assistance as to what you can do to help your teenager.

    Here are some signs that your teen may be suicidal:

    • Kidding around about suicide
    • Making comments like, “I feel like crashing into a tree,” or “I just wish I could disappear,” or “I’d be better off dead for sure.”
    • Romanticizing dying
    • Drawing pictures or writing stories about death or suicide
    • Reckless behavior
    • Getting a weapon or a bunch of pills


    Talking with your teen

    If you think that your teen is struggling with depression, sit down and have a talk with him or her right away. Tell him that you have been observing particular signs of depression. Let him know that you are concerned and that you want to help. Encourage him to own up to his depression if that be the case and give a good dose of support and unconditional love as he does.

    Many teens will deny that they are struggling out of feeling ashamed or afraid.  Let him know that you are there for them, that you understand about depression, and that there is help available.  Be gentle with him and let him open up on his time.  Do not judge or patronize him. He needs open arms.


    There are various treatments available for depression.  Call your doctor to set up an appointment for a depression screening or go directly to a psychologist.  Encourage your teen to go to therapy and be open and honest with the counselor. Oftentimes all it takes is a series of therapy sessions for your teen to minimize or eliminate the depression.  He may simply need to learn some coping skills or vent many feelings to a person who can offer insight and advice.

    Sometimes depression is due to a chemical imbalance, so there are anti-anxiety medications available for such cases.  Your teen would have to visit a psychiatrist for an assessment and evaluation.  Many teens do not need medication, but for those that do, it has been known to help minimize and alleviate many depressive symptoms.

    Your teen can get help for depression.  As a parent, you can play a part in that, so do your best to be alert to depressive signs and offer the help that you can.

    Image Credit: Alexis Tejeda @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexonrails/5701764082


  3. Child Depression

    March 15, 2013

    Child Depression

    We often tend to make fun of certain activities by calling them child’s play. However, it turns out that “child’s play” might not be that playful and happy-go-lucky after all. In the US, child depression on average tends to affect one in every forty kids. This should be a revelation for those of you who assume their child’s apparent depression as being just the “blues.” Neither is such a kid being emotional or moody, or even “difficult” for that matter.


    Yes, granted that children can start sulking at times if their parents or guardians have not given into their demands for that new toy or a sugary treat, even after they have thrown their fair share of tantrums. But the fact is that what with the fast-paced lifestyle that even kids these days have to cope with, as well as all sorts of synthetic and processed food that is being marketed to catch their fancy, it is no wonder that they have started experiencing similar mental illnesses as their elders.


    Symptoms of Childhood Depression

    If you see your child displaying irritable behaviour and getting angry all the time of petty things or on the flip side, becoming somewhat withdrawn socially or start brooding habitually, then there is a cause for concern. Furthermore, even though you might not immediately sense it, but your child is usually very sensitive to the environment in their homes and schools as well as the attitudes of various people that they interact with. Thus there is a whole range of emotions triggers that can bring about feelings of hopelessness, despair, guilt, self-loathing, worthlessness and even committing suicide.


    Worrying Factors about Child Depression

    The most disturbing factor that may be involved in your child developing a bout of depression with an underlying suicidal tendency is that it may be brought upon by the very medication that is supposed to treat it. Since the late 1990s, there have been several studies conducted within the scientific community that have shown that antidepressants such as the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drugs such as Prozac and Zoloft tend to increase the risk of suicide, especially amongst children.

    Your little ones have a body chemistry that is constantly undergoing changes as it is. Add to that a class of drugs that interfere with their brain’s job of regulating levels of serotonin, the so-called “happy hormone,” and you have a virtual suicidal time-bomb on your hands. Even the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) that is the official branch of the US government overseeing the marketing of pharmaceuticals, among other things, has issued strong warnings over the potential link between suicides and the usage of SSRI antidepressants.


    How to Effectively Alleviate Child Depression

    Where it is essential to discuss the moods and feelings with depressed adults, it is even more important to engage children and have a heart to heart with them. Children can also have a lot of hesitation when it comes to revealing their inner feelings and it takes time, patience and trust-building with them for positive results to come out. Make sure your children are getting plenty of exercise outdoors, preferably when the sun is shining. This is essentially for natural vitamin D production, the depletion of which has been linked to child depression.