Adolescence can be a very turbulent and difficult time, even for the well-adjusted teen. Depression strikes teenagers and adults alike, and can have far-reaching implications when young people suffer from emotional difficulties that they aren’t sure how to manage. After noticing the signs of depression it is important to get the help and treatment you need and to understand the root of your depression. This can help to make the situation more manageable for everyone involved. While this is by no means a comprehensive list of all causes of teen depression, these ten situations can be very common contributing factors to depression.
- Academic Stress – Teens are under an enormous amount of pressure to succeed academically, especially as the costs of higher education rise and more families are reliant upon scholarships to help offset the expense. Stressing over classes, grades and tests can cause you to become depressed, especially if you’re expected to excel at all costs or are beginning to struggle with your course load.
- Social Anxiety or Peer Pressure – During adolescence, you are learning how to navigate the complex and unsettling world of social interaction in new and complicated ways. Popularity is important to most teens, and a lack of it can be very upsetting. The appearance of peer pressure to try illicit drugs, drinking or other experimental behavior can also be traumatic for teens that aren’t eager to give in, but are afraid of damaging their reputation through refusal.
- Romantic Problems – In adolescence, romantic entanglements become a much more prominent and influential part of life. From breakups to unrequited affection, there are a plethora of ways in which budding love lives can cause teens to become depressed.
- Traumatic Events – The death of a loved one, instances of abuse or other traumatic events can have a very real impact on anyone, causing them to become depressed or overly anxious. In the aftermath of a trauma, it’s wise to keep an eye out for any changes in your behavior or signs of depression.
- Separating or Divorcing Parents – Divorced or separated parents might be more common today than it was in generations past, but that doesn’t mean that the situation has no effect on emotional wellbeing. The dissolution of the family unit or even the divorce of a parent and step-parent can be very upsetting for teens, often leading to depression.
- Heredity – Some people are genetically predisposed to suffer from depression. If a parent or close relative has issues with depression, you may be suffering from a cruel trick of heredity that makes you more susceptible.
- Family Financial Struggles – You may not be a breadwinner in your household or responsible for balancing the budget, but that doesn’t mean that you’re unaffected by a precarious financial situation within the family. Knowing that money is tight can be a very upsetting situation, especially if you’re worried about the possibility of losing your home or the standard of living you’re accustomed to.
- Physical or Emotional Neglect – Though you may seem like a fiercely independent being that wants or needs nothing from your parents, you still have emotional and physical needs for attention. The lack of parental attention on either level can lead to feelings of depression.
- Low Self-Esteem – Being a teenager isn’t easy on the self-esteem. From a changing body to the appearance of pimples, it can seem as if Mother Nature herself is conspiring against you to negatively affect your level of self-confidence. When the self-esteem level drops below a certain point, it’s not uncommon to become depressed.
- Feelings of Helplessness – Knowing that you’re going to be affected on a personal level by things you have no control over can easily throw anyone into the downward spiral of depression. Feelings of helplessness and powerlessness often go hand in hand with the struggle with depression, and can make the existing condition even more severe.
It’s important that you speak to a medical professional or your doctor about any concerns you have regarding your emotional wellbeing, especially if you suspect that you may be suffering from depression. Depression is a very real affliction that requires treatment, and is not something that should be addressed without the assistance of a doctor. Your general practitioner or pediatrician should be able to help you determine the best course of action if you are dealing with depression, including referrals to a therapist or medication.