Teen Depression: What is it and how to deal with it?
Teen depression is a mental and emotional disorder that is medically identical to adult depression. However, symptoms in teens may manifest differently than in adults. This could be because teens face a variety of social and developmental challenges, such as peer pressure, changing hormone levels, and developing bodies.
Depression has been linked to high levels of stress, anxiety, and, in the worst-case scenario, suicide. It can also have an impact on the following aspects of a teen's life: personal life, social life, work-life, school life, and family life. This can lead to social separation and other problems.
Depression is not a condition that can be "snapped out of" or "cheered up" from. It is a real medical condition, if not treated properly, can affect a person's life in every way.
Symptoms of teen depression
Children suffering from adolescent depression frequently exhibit a noticeable change in their thinking and behavior. They may lack motivation and even withdraw, closing their bedroom door after school and remaining in their room for hours.
Teen depression may cause kids to sleep excessively, change their eating habits, and even engage in criminal behavior such as shoplifting. Here are some more signs of depression in adolescents, though they may or may not exhibit all of them:
- appearing sad, irritable, or tearful
- changes in appetite or weight
- loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities
- regular boredom
- decrease in energy
- difficulty concentrating
- feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- misuse of alcohol or drugs
- major shifts in sleeping patterns
- Suicide talk or contemplation
- withdrawal from friends or after-school activities
- weak performance in school
What causes teen depression?
There is no single cause of adolescent depression. Depression may be caused due to a variety of reasons.
The brains of adolescents are structurally different from the brains of adults. Teens suffering from depression may also have hormonal imbalances and differing levels of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that influence how brain cells communicate with one another. They play an important role in mood and behavior regulation.
Serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters that play an important role in determining a person’s mental health.
Shocking early life events
Some kids lack well-developed surviving mechanisms. A shocking event can leave a permanent mark. Loss of a parent, as well as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, are a few of the examples that can have long-term effects on a child's brain, potentially contributing to depression.
Teens who are regularly exposed to negative thinking, particularly from their parents, are more likely to develop depression. They might be lacking in positive examples of how to overcome obstacles.
How is teen depression diagnosed?
Doctors may use the adult guidelines to screen 18 and 19-year-olds for depression.
A psychological evaluation, in which the teen is asked a series of questions about their moods, behaviors, and thoughts, is recommended for proper treatment. The evaluation should also consider the teen's family history, academic performance, and comfort in social situations. Also, the psychologist/psychiatrist will question the parent or caregiver about the teen's behavior and mood. A physical examination may also be used to rule out other possible causes of their symptoms. Some medical conditions can also play a role in depression.
Which medications are used to treat teen depression?
There is no single treatment that can help everyone who suffers from depression. It may take some time to figure out which one works best for you. Adolescent depression is typically treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. A wide range of medications is available to treat the symptoms of depression.
Teens with depression should consult a qualified mental health professional before or at the same time as starting medication therapy. The AAP recommends either Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Interpersonal Therapy (IPT). CBT might help to replace negative thoughts and emotions with positive thoughts. IPT is to reinforce personal relationships by improving communication and problem-solving skills. Parents or caregivers will join in selected sessions. Even though TMS is not FDA-approved under 18, it has shown to be helpful in the treatment of adolescent depression.
Book an appointment with us to talk to our doctor and know if TMS therapy will work for you!