Persistent feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in activities are just two of the ways that teen depression is exhibited in the population. No doubt a serious mental health problem, teen depression affects the way a teenager thinks, feels, and behaves in addition to negatively impacting one’s emotional, functional, and physical capabilities.
Here are some of the most common causes of teenage depression:
Bullying is one of the leading causes of teenage depression. Cyberbullying, self-bullying, and peer bullying in any format can negatively impact self-esteem. Compounding this risk, if a teen is obese, experiencing academic problems, or if the bullying’s been happening long-term or in a specific location such as work, it can result in depression. Bullying’s effects can be catastrophic and if left untreated, the depression and anxiety can last long into adulthood.
A teenager is going through a lot of changes in their body, including in the production and re-balancing of hormones. In some teens, hormone production including that of the thyroid gland can cause depression. In fact, some symptoms of depression are identical to certain thyroid conditions as well as with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Any shift in hormones can potentially cause dysfunction.
Violence can be one of the main causes of teenage depression. If a teen has been through physical or sexual violence, or if they have been witness to these events, it can sometimes manifest into depression. To be subjected to violence, especially at a young age, this can cause a teen to feel helpless, powerless, and alone. For some victims of violence, they don’t receive the support they need to overcome this abuse and process what’s happened.
4. Negative thinking
Teen depression has been linked to negative thinking. This is not to say that thinking positively will magically improve the condition. However, there is evidence that teens who feel helpless as opposed to those who are capable of processing the challenges in front of them are more likely to experience depression.
Forming romantic relationships at an adolescent and teen stage is an important development step. That said, these are oftentimes a person’s very first relationship and as most of these will eventually end, a teen may not know how to deal with this. The attachment a teen has to their counterpart especially in their first serious relationship is strong. As this is taken away from them sometimes involuntarily, it can have serious mental health consequences.
6. Brain chemistry
It’s not known what causes depression although there are some theories that certainly have gained traction in the medical community. From a brain chemistry standpoint, neurotransmitters are known to carry signals throughout the brain and body. Any time these neurotransmitters are impaired or abnormal, it can affect the function of nerve receptors and nerve systems. This is believed to cause depression in some teens.
7. Substance abuse
Alcohol and hard drugs can have a close relationship with depression however one must be careful here. Just because a teen is drinking or using substances does not mean they are going to have depression. Also, it can very well be possible someone abusing substances and with depression could have had depression beforehand. What studies have shown however is that alcohol dependency or substance abuse can affect brain chemistry which plays into our last point.
8. Inherited traits
Depression appears to be more common in teens with blood relatives suffering from the same condition. As many as 40 percent of people affected by depression are believed to have it from a genetic link, although it is worth keeping in mind the other 60 percent are influenced by environmental and other factors. Teens with parents or siblings suffering from depression are 3 times more likely to have it.
9. Chronic illness
Imagine as a teen being faced with a life-limiting diagnosis, be it a chronic pain condition such as fibromyalgia or something life-threatening like cancer. The limitations this puts on a young person’s life can understandably lead them towards negative patterns of thinking and eventually towards depression. Fortunately, for a lot of chronic illnesses or pain conditions, there are psychotherapy treatments available which can help a teen cope and understand the circumstances in front of them.
10. Childhood trauma
Early childhood trauma and similarly traumatic events in childhood can cause changes in the brain. This can be from physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or from the loss of a parent. The effects of childhood trauma are unfortunately far-reaching and in teenagers, it can be the beginning of a lasting impact they may be dealing with for the rest of their lives. This applies to treatment as well. In fact, teens with a history of child abuse or neglect respond differently to depression treatment than those with no history.
11. Academic expectations
For some teens, they are under a lot of pressure to perform academically. When they fall flat or overwork themselves, they can take on a lot of stress. As adults, most of us know how to when we’re being overworked or how to process a failure such as one that’s experienced in academics. The pressure a teen is put under, either by themselves or their parents, can lead towards the development of some very unhealthy habits, negatively impact their mental health, and eventually can result in a serious depression.