Many youths suffer from teen depression. And, when you’re depressed as a teen, without help, you may be a depressed young adult too. How can we recognize depression, treat it, and help youth find happiness again? It’s a question we get a lot at Peek Counseling.
Firstly, we can look at the causes of teen depression. It is typically many different factors ranging from genetics to peer pressure. Teens may be moody and irritable, but it is important to keep an eye out for long periods of these moods.
What is Teen Depression, Why is it Different For Teens Versus Adults?
Teen depression is a medical condition which consists of deep sadness and makes it hard to go through day-to-day life. Many factors, such as trauma, may lead to depression in teens and young adults.
Depression is different when it comes to teens versus adults. In teenagers, their prefrontal cortex is still maturing, making decision-making harder than for adults. And, for teens, many tell close friends to help them go through their depression, while adults often choose to isolate themselves. Yet, both teens and adults tend to try to “deal with it on their own” rather than ask for help. It’s human nature (and even animals isolate when they are not feeling well). We have to break through this and reach out though, in order to end the cycle.
Where Does Depression Come From?
Depression may be induced from external environment factors, like what the home or work environment is like, as well as internal factors, such as prolonged stress. In contrast to adult issues, academics and peer pressure may be another cause of depression which teens experience that adults don’t deal with quite as impactfully. According to the Lindner Center of HOPE, 10 to 15 percent of teens experience depression, and it is on the rise.
How Can You Recognize Depression in Your Teen?
If your teen/child is feeling depressed, they will often express a sad demeanor in their body language and may even voice thoughts of suicide. In this video from the Mayo Clinic, it shows the top five signs of depression in teens: a lot of irritability, being sad for an extended period of time, too much or too little sleep, loss of interest in school or activities, and extreme weight loss or gain.
There are many more signs, and each is specific to each individual, but they can help parents determine if they need to take further action and contact a counselor (hint: if you’re thinking that maybe you should, you should.)
Can You Heal From Depression? What Can Help?
There are quite a number of activities can be done to improve teen depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, organizing your work load into smaller parts to be more manageable, hanging out with loved ones, and maintaining a good sleep schedule is important in order to improve your mood and lift your depression.
Self-care is something to do when a person is feeling depressed, such as taking themselves out to dinner. Going to therapy is a good way to get better from their depression, and sometimes medication may also help, such as antidepressants. Depression may be improved with changes to daily lifestyle habits, such as how much sleep teens get, how much they exercise, and how much they eat. And, be sure to invite the person to social events and that they are important and loved.
About Peek Counseling, Counseling for Teens in Denver
Depression is something that nearly every person has, or will experience, throughout their lives. If someone you know may be going through a hard time, and let them know that they are not alone, are loved, and are important. If you need extra help, Peek Counseling is a private practice in Denver, Colorado, that specializes in helping teenagers with counseling and self-empowerment.
Katie Bisbee-Peek, MA, LPC, NCC, is trained in helping adolescents, teens and young adults with the struggles of everyday life and how to break through depression. From her professional and personal experience with clients, she has been able to bring families back together and put smiles back on faces that have been struggling.
“My door is always open!” ~ Katie