Teenage depression is more than just bad moods or broken hearts; it
is a very serious clinical illness that will affect approximately
20% of teens before they reach adulthood. Left untreated, depression
can lead to difficult home situations, problems at school, drug abuse,
and worse, violence toward themselves and others.Certain young teens
suffer from depression as result of situations surrounding their social
or family life, but many are succeptable to the disease regardless
of race, gender, income level or education. It is very important for
parents to keep a watch on their teens - and to maintain a strong
level of communication. Understanding the causes and warning signs
of the illness can help parents prevent their teens from falling in
Depression Warning Signs
Common warning signs/symptoms of teenage depression
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits (eating and sleeping too
much or too little)
- Significant change in weight (loss or gain)
- Often misses school and/or shows bad school performance
- Reclusive, withdrawing from friends or family members
- Quick to show anger/rage
- General restlessness or anxiety
- Overreacts to criticism, even constructive
- Seems very self conscious, guilty
- Unusual problems with authority
- No longer partakes in or enjoys activities and events they once
- Indecision, lack of concentration, or forgetfulness
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Frequent health complaints despite being healthy
- Lack of motivation and enthusiasm for every day life
- Drug/alcohol abuse
- Mentions or thoughts of suicide
There are many causes of teen depression. The most common causes
- Significant life events like the death of a family member or
close friend, parents divorce or split, breaking up with a boyfriend
or girlfriend, or moving to a new school/area.
- Emotional/Physical neglect, being separated from a nurturer, abuse,
damage to self esteem.
- Many changes happening too quickly can cause depression. For some
teens, any major change at one time can trigger symptoms.
- Stress, especially in cases where the teen has little or no emotional
support from parents, other family members, or friends.
- Past traumatic events or experiences like sexual abuse, general
abuse, or other major experiences often harbor deep within a child
and emerge in the teen years. Most children are unable to process
these types of events when they happen, but of course, they remember
them. As they age, the events/experiences become clearer and they
gain new understanding.
- Changes associated with puberty often cause emotions labeled as
- Abuse of drugs or other substances can cause changes in the brainÕs
chemistry, in many cases, causing some types of depression.
- Some medical conditions such as hypothyroidism are believed to
affect hormone and mood balance. Physical pain that is chronic can
also trigger depression. In many cases, depression caused by medical
conditions disappears when medical attention is sought and treatment
- Depression is a genetic disorder, and teens with family members
who have suffered from depression have a higher chance of developing
Depression is the most common mental health disorder or illness
in the US among teenagers and adults. These alarming statistics
show that this is a very large and concerning problem.
- About 20 percent of teens will experience teen depression before
they reach adulthood.
- Somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of teens show symptoms of
depression at any given time.
- About 5 percent of teens are suffering from major depression at
any one time.
- As many as 8.3 percent of teens suffer from depression for at
least a year at a time.
- Most teens with depression will suffer from more than one episode.
20 to 40 percent will have more than one episode within two years,
and 70 percent will have more than one episode before adulthood.
Episodes of teen depression generally last about 8 months.
- Dysthymia, a type of mild, long-lasting depression, affects about
2 percent of teens, and about the same percentage of teens develop
bipolar disorder in their late teenage years. 15 percent of teens
with depression eventually develop bipolar disorder.
- A small percent of teens also suffer from seasonal depression,
usually during the winter months in higher latitudes.
- 30 percent of teens suffering from depression will also develop
one or more problems with substance abuse.
- Less than 33 percent of teens suffering from depression successfully
seek and receive help for their disorder.