Adolescentdepression is a severe emotional and mental disorder which affectsteens and adolescents and makes them to have constant lack ofinterest and feeling of unhappiness. Commonly known as teendepression, adolescent depression affects how the adolescentsbehaves, thinks and feels. Even though adolescent depression ismedically similar to adult depression, the manifestation of thesymptoms in adolescent is different from that of the adults. This isbecause of the different developmental and social challenges that theteens face. Factors such as hormonal level changes, peer pressure,awkward tendencies, developing bodies, and sports may hold foradolescents many ups and downs which can be symptoms of teendepression (Stuart & Frances, 2012). Adolescent depression islinked to anxiety, stress, and very serious cases, suicide. It alsoaffects the adolescent’s school, social, personal, family and worklife, which often results to social seclusion. Adolescent depressionneeds continuing treatment and if left untreated, it can have severeconsequences on the teen suffering from it. For most adolescents, thesymptoms of depression lessen when treated either through use ofmedication or psychological counseling (Stuart & Frances, 2012).
Signsand symptoms of adolescent depression
Signsand symptoms of adolescent depression are hard to notice. At times,these symptoms are confused with the characteristic feelingassociated with teenagers adjusting to the body changes taking placein their bodies. However, the symptoms of adolescent depressioninclude a combination of behavioral and emotional changes. Behavioralchanges associated with adolescent depression include insomnia orexcessive sleeping, use of drugs and alcohol, lack of energy andtiredness, troublesome behaviors, poor hygiene and neglect of outwardappearance such as having uncombed hair or putting on mismatchedsocks, poor performance in school or regular school absenteeism,self-harm which include excessive tattooing and piercing of onesbody, regular unexplained complaints of headaches and body acheswhich make the victim to visit the hospital regularly, slowed bodymovements, thinking or speaking, feeling restless and agitated, andchanges in ones appetite including increased craving for certaintypes of foods and decreased appetite (Kathleen, 2005). On the otherhand, emotional changes associated with adolescent depression includelack of pleasure in activities which the teen used to enjoypreviously, being quick tempered and irritable, feeling unhappy forno clear reason, feeling that the present and the future are on thebleak and grim, serious sensitivity to failure and rejection, lack ofinterest in friends and family members, feeling worthless and makingexaggerated criticism and blame to oneself, having suicidal thoughts,and having trouble in concentrating, remembering things, thinking andmaking decisions. It can be hard to differentiate the normal ups anddowns associated with teenage hood and adolescent depression.Therefore, to determine whether a teen is suffering from teendepression or not the people around the teens should check whetherthey are able to manage the challenging feelings or not. If thewarning symptoms they see in them persist, beyond two weeks, thenthey should take the teen to see a doctor. The diagnosis ofadolescent depression is done only after a mental professional, forinstance, a psychologist or psychiatrist asks question regarding theadolescent’s thoughts, moods and behaviors. This process is calledpsychological evaluation (Kathleen, 2005).
Causesof adolescent depression
Thereis no exact cause of adolescent depression known. However, researchcarried out by health experts has made them conclude that adolescentdepression is a result of multiple factors. One of the main factorswhich lead to teen depression is early traumatic events during oneschildhood. For instance, a child whose parents die when they areyoung, or get emotionally or physically abused can have brain changeswhich would make him or her vulnerable to teen depression (Bernice,2012). Another contributory factor to teen depression is changes inthe balance of the body hormones. This condition can also beinherited because it has a biological element. An adolescent whoseclose relatives have depression are more prone to getting teendepression themselves. Also, an adolescent who has been exposed tonegative thinking, particularly from his or her parents, may beassociated with teen depression. Imbalance of neurotransmitters alsoplays a role in teen depression. Neurotransmitters are the mainchemicals in ones brain which affect the way brain cells communicatewith each other. They regulate a person’s behaviors and moods,that’s why they can cause depression. Teens can also get depressedbecause of other factors such as low social status, family life,sexual orientation and low grades in school (Bernice, 2012).
Treatmentof adolescent depression
Thereis no known exact treatment for adolescent depression since there isno exact known cause of this condition. Therefore, treatment of teendepression is aimed at relieving its symptoms. For effectivetreatment of an adolescent with depression, a combination ofpsychotherapy or psychological counseling is required (Joseph &Boris, 2009). The approved medications for treating teen depressionare escitalopram (lexapro) and fluoxetine (Prozac). They are chosentreatments for the teens because they have lesser side effectscompared to other antidepressants used to treat adult depression.Some of the side effects associated with these medications areheadaches, nausea, sexual problems and diarrhea. Although thesemediations are safe when taken as prescribed by the doctor, in someinstances the teens taking them may have increased thoughts ofsuicide, particularly during the first few days of taking them or ifthe dose has been changed. Therefore, teens taking such medicationsshould be monitored closely by their caregivers (Joseph & Boris,2009).
Psychologicalcounseling also referred to as talk therapy or psychotherapy isanother way of treating depression only that there will be no use ofmedications. It involves having a therapist talking to the depressedperson about depression and how to deal with it. Talk therapy can becarried with family members, one-on-one, or in a group. Havingregular psychotherapy sessions with the therapist helps the affectedteen to learn what causes depression, ways on how to set goals thatare realistic, explore experiences and relationships, change andidentify unhealthy thoughts and behaviors, and find ways to deal andsolve their problems better. It also helps the teen in getting backtheir sense of control and happiness, and assists in relievingsymptoms of depression such as anger and hopelessness (Joseph &Boris, 2009).
Homeremedies and lifestyle for adolescent depression
Gettingan adolescent with depression to take antidepressants and taking himor her for therapy sessions is not enough for an effective treatmentplan. The caregivers at home need to adopt the following lifestyleand practice these home remedies to help the depressed teens. Theyshould help the teen to adhere to the plan for treatment by makingsure that he or she is taking the prescribed medication as directedby the doctor and attending his or her doctor’s appointments. Also,the parents should encourage their depressed teens to talk bycreating a conducive environment where they can share their concernswith them. Parents should also assure their teens of their absolutesupport. Ensuring that the affected teen adopts habits that arehealthy could also help him or her. Engaging in simple physicalactivities and getting enough sleep for teens with depression helpsin alienating the symptoms of depression in them. It is alsoimportant to encourage a depressed teen to avoid abusing drugs ortaking alcohol so as to relieve depression. This is because drugs andalcohol will only worsen the depression symptoms and make themdifficult to treat in the long run (Joseph & Boris, 2009).
Inconclusion, even though signs and symptoms of adolescent depressionare hard to notice during its initial stages, it is important for theparents and caretakers to be on the look out for the persistent signswhich may last for over two weeks. It is also advisable to neverleave teen depression untreated as it could get worse with time thusmaking it hard to be treated, and have severe consequences on theteen. The contributory factors for teen depression are both geneticand environmental. Although there is no exact treatment known forteen depression, a prescription of antidepressant medications andpsychotherapy make an effective plan for treating its symptoms. Tomake a good plan for treating teen depression more effective, it isimportant for the parents or the people living with the affectedteens to adopt a lifestyle and practice the appropriate home remediesfor ensuring that the teens with depression adhere to the treatmentplan. Parents to the affected teens should also ensure they educatethemselves about adolescent depression so that they can be able totake care of their children better and help them to cope with thiscondition in the right way.
Bernice,T N. (2012). Depressionin children,New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Joseph,R. & Boris, B. (2009). Treatingchild and adolescent depression,Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams &Wilkins.
Kathleen,K. (2005). Adolescentdepression: outside/in,New York: iUniverse.
Stuart,J G. & Frances, J. W. (2012). Childand adolescent depression,Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders.