By Tess Thompson
Normal adolescent behavior is marked by mood changes. A couple of good experiences and teens feel that everything is fine with the world. One episode of indifference shown by a friend, especially of the opposite sex, makes teens feel as if the world is falling apart. Parents are prone to shrug off such transient depressive episodes because clinical depression seems to be too big a word to be used in the context of children. However, it is a fact that child depression does exist and the statistics indicate the makings of a nationwide phenomenon.
Teen depression is often confused with other conditions like anxiety, conduct and mood disorders. Moreover, teens tend to hide transient episodes from parents and often take to alcohol or self medicate with drugs. This makes it all the more difficult to diagnose the condition. Adolescents who are low on self esteem, excessively self-critical or unable to come to terms with events in their lives are at a higher risk of developing depression. Teenage girls are at a higher risk and more prone to develop epression than teenage boys.
Clinical depression is a continuous state of low mood characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy. It is also proven by a despondent lack of activity that lasts for at least three months. Depression can be caused due to hereditary or physical abnormalities within the brain. It is actually caused by a conflict - a conflict that goes on within the mind.
Outside of genetics and abnormalities in the brain structure, some of the causes of teen depression include:
- Family dysfunction – This is the most common cause behind child depression. Parents often fail to realize the affect that their behavior has on the psyche of the child. It has been observed that parents find it easy to label the child as a patient and are defensive about accepting the harm that they may have caused. Family dysfunction includes aspects of inadequate communication or independence conflicts between parents or between parents and the child.
- Stress at school - School has ceased to be an enjoyable experience in the current scene where competition is emphasized more than learning. Children who face stress at school are more prone to develop depression.
- Unrealistic parental expectations - Well meaning parents who are concerned about their children tend to push their children over the edge without realizing that each individual has his or her own intellectual limitations. Parents who place unrealistic expectations upon their children actually do more harm than good.
- Unresolved grief - Death, loss of a cherished relationship or a traumatic event exposes teens to a greater risk of depression.
- Emotional detachment - The adolescent mind is highly emotional and there is no guarantee of how a teenager will perceive his or her inabilities. Many times, inability to connect with others and an excessive fear of building new relationships may be the cause behind teen depression.
Depression, as it is, is difficult to diagnose. The condition becomes even more difficult to identify among teens. Parents should be well informed of the signs of depression and seek teen depression help from a consultant who is a specialist in teenage problems.
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