It is seen that adolescents and teenagers are vulnerable to depression due to both known and unknown reasons.
As the children reach to their adolescence, a lot of changes occur both in their physical and emotional growth. There are changes in their bodies, their brains and their place in the world during adolescence.
They develop a drive to be independent of their personal choices, which creates a rift between them and their parents. This rift creates a sense of disconnection between the both. Hence, they rely more on their peer groups for support and compassion.
There are times when they will feel confusions and exhaustion as they are exposed to many technological, global and social changes.
Due to these changes in their lives, teens become prone to depression. Therefore, in order to raise the children emotionally healthy, one should have good knowledge of the causes, symptoms and treatment of this disease and protect children’s lives.
By being aware of the risk factors for depression, people can work to limit those risks for teens as much as it can be done.
Causes of vulnerabilities of depression among Teenagers:
Sensitivity towards their physical appearances.
When the children are small they accept the things as they are. They see the world from their own perspective. They are not so sensitive about how people think about them.
However, when they grow up and become adolescent, their capacity to see themselves through the eyes of others, also expand. Teens become self-conscious and they start having a strong liking and disliking for everything. For them, acceptance from others and especially from their peers becomes very important. Hence when they do not get positive remarks, they feel so deeply hurt that sometimes they get into depression.
2. Pressures :
With the increasing demands from friends, family, career, studies etc combined with drugs, sex and alcohol, the pressure increases on teens. It can be a confusing time. During adolescence, teens rely more on their peers’ advice rather than depending on the parents for guidance. For teens acceptance from their peer group matters a lot. There is no problem to be independent of the parents and depend on the friends as far as the advice are healthy and correct. However, the peer group is inexperienced and not capable enough to always guide well.
The path on which the teens travel is new and unfamiliar. It is brave to see the world in new and interesting ways, but it will also force to take risks and experiment with things that may always not be good for them. Taking risks and experimenting is definitely a bold and uplifting thing to do, but it can also create downfall that can cause breakage.
Teens are not capable of coping with so much pressure. Hence, when they face the negative outcome of their efforts, they feel immense pressure.
3. Relation with Peer group:
At teenage, children want to have independence from parents so feeling connected to peers becomes more important than ever. They need friends for fun, sharing problems, taking advice and for emotional support. However, at this age teens are also more vulnerable to exclusion, bullying and rejection.
When teens face rejections and disconnection from their peers, they get so saddened and discouraged that they doubt their own identity. In this situation, they become vulnerable to depression.
4 Sleep disorder:
Unlike other people, teens sleep late at night and due to early school or college, they need to get up before eight-hour sleep. This makes them feel exhausted the whole day.
When the lack of sleep becomes chronic, it may contribute to vulnerability to depression.
5. Eating disorder:
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is found in the digestive tract in the human body. Serotonin is considered to be responsible for feelings of well-being and mood. Digestive tract and the brain are deeply connected through neurons and nerves. So when teens eat poorly and irregularly and start taking drugs and alcohol, there is a drop in serotonin level and the effect of this can cause mental health problems in teens. They may feel stress, anxiety and sadness, as well as memory, decision-making and learning.
Therefore, it is important to maintain the correct levels of serotonin in order to keep the mood and happiness level high. Serotonin is derived from an amino acid tryptophan, used in the synthesis of proteins. Tryptophan is present in most protein-based foods like in chocolates, oats, dried dates, cheese, curd, milk, sesame, chickpeas, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, peanuts, meat, eggs and fish.
To keep our mood happy we must include the above products in our diet.
Avoid irregular diet and substance use to stay away from depression.
6. Effect of social media.
Before the rise of social media culture, people used to spend their time in talking, playing, roaming around and learning new things, doing household chores etc. Children generally used to have fun in a safe and protected environment.
However, in the era of social networking, the range of getting connected with the people and the world has been expanded a lot. People are exposed to unending knowledge and the unlimited number of connections with people which has brought to them both positive and negative impact.
It has opened up the risk of cyberbullying and negative interactions, which can create a vulnerability to depression. Teens of today are the first generation to grow with social media and are apt to navigate through this, but not necessarily they have the ability to understand the positive and negative consequences of the same. The negative impact of the technology can be really hurtful for teens.
These days, markets are full of cosmetics and fashion products and dresses. Beauty salon, spa, Boutiques are on maximum growth. Teens have become immensely conscious about their looks and images. At the time when their body changes, their skin is not under their control and they face identity crisis because they compare themselves to the glowing, confident, happy, carefree images they see in the media.
The effect is more on girls as they compare themselves with idealised images of women, they become less confident and dissatisfied with their bodies and therefore more likely to feel depression, anxiety and anger. They fall into the trap of believing in a false image of them and be disconnected with their real selves. When their real image, does not fit into their imaginary self, they feel empty and lonely which in turn lead them to depression.
Above all, depression can target anyone anytime. It can happen to anybody, however, for some reasons, it is very common among teenagers. So by being aware of the risk factors for depression, adults and teenagers both can work to minimise the chances of getting depression. We all must help the teenagers to become courageous, strong and resilient in order to feel the liveliness of adulthood.