Depression in adolescents and teenagers. Teenagers and Adolescents are vulnerable to depression. Some reasons are known and some are unknown.
As the children reach 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.
Due to technological and social changes, they may feel confused and exhausted. Due to these changes in their lives, teens become prone to depression. Therefore, one must have knowledge of the cause, symptoms and treatment of depression to raise children emotionally healthy.
Only awareness of Depression and its risk factors can limit the adverse effects on teens
Causes of vulnerabilities of depression among Teenagers:
1 Sensitivity towards their physical appearances.
When children are small they accept 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 liking and disliking everything. For them, acceptance from others and especially from their peers becomes very important. Hence, they feel deeply hurt and get into depression by not getting positive remarks.
2. Pressures :
Teens face increasing demands from friends and family. Families’ demands are related to career, studies and performances. And friends influence them to involve in sex and alcohol. It can be a confusing time. During adolescence, teens rely more on their peers’ advice rather than depending on their parents for guidance. For teens, acceptance from their peer group matters a lot. Therefore, they do not want to discuss it with their parents and prefer to take independent decisions. 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. Parents should encourage their children to take risks. And parents must also allow them to experiment with things that may always not be good for them. This makes the children bold but it can also create a 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:
In their teenage, children want to have independence from parents so feel connected to peers becomes more important than ever. They need friends for fun, sharing problems, taking advice and emotional support. However, at this age teens are also more vulnerable to exclusion, bullying and rejection.
Lack of acceptance from their peers makes them sad and discouraged. They face rejection and doubt their own identity. In this situation, they become vulnerable to depression.
4 Sleep disorder:
Teens have different sleeping patterns. They sleep late at night and wake up early due to school or college. They take less than eight hours of sleep.
This makes them feel exhausted the whole day.
When the lack of sleep becomes chronic, it may contribute to depression in adolescents and teenagers
5. Eating disorder:
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, found in the digestive tract of the human body. This is responsible for well-being, and mood. The digestive tract and the human brain are deeply connected. So, when teens get addicted to drugs and alcohol, their mental health is affected. They may feel stress, anxiety and sadness, as well as memory, decision-making and learning.
Therefore, to keep correct levels of serotonin in the body, healthy eating must be focused on. 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.
Eating habits are one of the major reasons for depression in adolescents and teenagers
6. Effect of social media.
Before social media, people had time to talk, play roam and learn new things. Children generally used to have fun in a safe and protected environment.
However, in the era of social networking, people get connected to an expanded range. People are exposed to unending knowledge and an unlimited number of connections. This has brought both positive and negative impacts.
It has opened up the risk of cyberbullying and negative interactions, which can create a vulnerability to depression. The Teens of today are the first generation to grow with social media. They are apt to navigate through this. However, It may not necessarily be that they have the ability to understand the positive and negative consequences of the same. The negative impact of technology can be one of the reasons for developing depression in adolescents and teenagers.
These days, markets are full of cosmetics and fashion products and dresses. Beauty salons, spas, and Boutiques are on maximum growth. Teens have become immensely conscious of their looks and images. During adolescence, the change in body and skin is not under their control. They compare themselves to the glowing, confident, happy, carefree images they see in the media.
Girls get affected more as they compare themselves with idealized 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 themselves and being disconnected from their real selves. When their real image, does not match the imaginary one, they feel depressed.
Above all, depression can target anyone at any time. It can happen to anybody, however, for some reason, it is very common among teenagers. So, awareness of the risk factors for depression can limit the chances of this disease. We all must help teenagers to become courageous, strong and resilient in order to feel the liveliness of adulthood.