We all know that teenagers are known for being moody, rebellious, egocentric and emotional. This is just normal adolescent behavior. However, major depression is a common mental disorder that affects an estimated 3 million American adolescents between ages 12 and 17. There are various reasons why a teenager will develop depression, these include:
Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that carry signals to other parts of the brain and body. When these chemicals are impaired, the function of nerve receptors and systems can change, leading to depression.
Teenagers experience rapid hormonal changes, which have been shown to cause or trigger depression.
Depression is more common in teenagers whose blood relatives also have the condition.
Early childhood trauma
Traumatic events during childhood, like physical or emotional abuse or the loss of a close family member may cause changes in the brain that make a teen more prone to depression.
Learned patterns of negative thinking
Teen depression can be linked to learning to feel helpless, rather than learning to feel capable of finding solutions to life’s challenges.
Know the symptoms
Moodiness isn’t the same as depression, so how do you tell the difference between normal teenage mood swings and depression? Pay attention to whether or not there’s been a real change in the functioning of your child’s behavior. Notice changes in appetite and sleep, poor school performance, an inability to concentrate, lack of interest and withdrawal from regular social activities. Also look for irritability and agitation in your teen. If the depression lasts longer than two or three weeks, you should really pay close attention.
Be aware of comorbidity
It’s rare for a teen to solely struggle with depression. These symptoms are always part of a bigger picture. Depression and anxiety often come hand-in-hand, and this combination can lead to coping mechanisms like self-harm, eating disorders and substance abuse.
Depression is treatable
Many think that depression and its coexisting problems are difficult to treat, but with the right kind of therapy, mild to moderate depression can handled. The CERTS Group’s residential treatment programs are specifically designed to treat depression and the self-destructive behaviors that result from it. These programs provide intimate therapy sessions and individually-tailored programs to treat your teenage daughter’s specific behaviors.