Nothing is more synonymous with teenagers than the word “moody.” However, if that moodiness persists for longer than normal, your teen may be experiencing something a little more severe.
According to Mental Health America, one in five teens is clinically depressed. Teen depression is more than kids feeling sad, nursing a broken heart, or feeling overwhelmed by their busy lives. It can be a medical illness that interferes with their daily activities like sleeping, eating, and schoolwork.
Here are the most common reasons for teenage depression.
#1 – Brain Chemistry
Brain chemistry can play a significant role in teenage depression. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances released in the brain. When they are abnormal or impaired for any reason they can “misfire,” leading to depression. While fluctuating hormone levels are normal, there are other medical conditions like low thyroid levels that may contribute to impaired neurotransmitters. If you’re suspicious, it’s worth a call to your doctor.
#2 – Genetics
If you or someone in your family has suffered from depression, your child is far more likely to suffer with it as well.
Children with parents who are depressed are three times more likely to experience depression themselves.WebMD
It’s important to know both parents’ family medical history when dealing with teen depression.
#3 – Social Status
Social acceptance is incredibly important to adolescents and has a great impact on their self-image. Teens crave acceptance from their peers for validation. Unfortunately, teenagers tend to socialize in cliques, leaving a lot of room for others to feel left out. These feelings of isolation can be a common reason for depression.
#4 – Changes in Family Life
Even a small change in a teen’s family life can trigger feelings of depression. Anything from moving, divorce, remarriage or adoption can be attributed to a teenager’s feelings of being severely overwhelmed.
#5 – School Performance
Kids, especially teenagers, are under more pressure than ever to perform academically. If your child is battling low grades it may lead to depression. Even if your child’s grades are great — it can be an issue. High achievers often struggle with anxiety and depression, so it’s important to be able to spot the signs of depression.
#6 – Early Childhood Trauma
Children who experienced trauma such as physical or emotional abuse or the loss of a parent may be more susceptible to depression when they’re teenagers. Even if they dealt with trauma at an earlier age; hurtful feelings can resurface in
#7 – Bullying
Several studies have made a significant link between bullying and depression. Even if your teen is not being bullied currently, the after-effects of bullying, even in early childhood, can last well into the teen years. If your child has ever been bullied, it’s important that you keep the lines of communication open to ensure that they’re continuing to cope through adolescence and even into adulthood.
#8 – Learned Patterns of Thinking
The is one of the most sinister common reasons for teenage depression because it can stick with the young person well into adulthood. Whether they have been told by others or they learned from their own experience, kids who feel that they are incapable of finding solutions to their problems are more inclined to experience depression. These kids are easily overwhelmed by the ups and downs of adolescence and can feel helpless to handle their situation.
#9 – Sexual Orientation
The teenage years are a time of discovering sexuality. Kids in the LGBTQ+ community are much more likely to experience depression than their heterosexual counterparts. Not being fully accepted for their sexual orientation either at home or at school can have devasting repercussions.
LGBT kids between the ages of 7-12 are twice as likely to commit suicide.Healthline
#10 – Drug And Alcohol Abuse
Experimentation with substances can be a normal part of adolescents pushing boundaries. Substance abuse is a different story. Alcohol and drug abuse and depression are intimately linked, because kids who are depressed often try drugs and alcohol to self-medicate.
Conversely, kids who abuse drugs and alcohol tend to experience depression because of their addiction. So, a teen that is depressed is more likely to have a substance abuse problem and vice-versa.
What You Can Do
Teen depression can be very dangerous if both you and your child don’t get a handle on it.
Pay attention to the signs. If your child is experiencing sadness that lasts more than a few weeks, it may be time to start asking some probing questions. If they no longer enjoy the things they used to love, contact your doctor, a school counselor, or mental healthcare professional to schedule an evaluation.
Keep the lines of communication open so that your teen will know they can come to you when they are feeling unusually sad or overwhelmed. Understanding what life events or circumstances might trigger your teenager to slip into depression will empower you to be aware of the situation and get them the help they need.
If your teen doesn’t want to confide in you and needs help, you can have them call Teenline at 310-855-4673 or send a text to 839863.