Depression during adolescence is somewhat common. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately, 8% of teens meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression. Across the length of adolescence, one in five teenagers have experienced teen depression at some point in their teenage years. NAMI also points out that in clinical settings, such as group homes, hospitals, or rehabilitative centers, as many as 28 percent of teens experience depression.
Sleep: There is a relationship between sleep and depression; however, it’s not all that clear. What mental health professionals know is that when teens are depressed they might experience a disturbance in sleep. And when teens experience a disturbance in sleep that could lead to depression. Teens tend to not give themselves the right amount of sleep by going to be very late and having to wake up early for school or family responsibilities. The right amount of sleep – which is about 9-10 hours for teens – can aid in psychological well being.
Food: There is a similar relationship between sleep and depression as there is between food and depression. What’s clear is that a healthy diet can facilitate psychological health. A healthy experience of eating, including the amount, frequency, and types of food can all play a role in a teen’s ability to stay emotionally and psychologically healthy.
Environment: When teens are around others who are negative, or who are toxic, that environment plays a role in their well being. Most people are sensitive to their environment and can feel what’s going on around them, even if it’s unspoken. It’s important for teens and their parents to pay attention to environments that are unhealthy.
Media: By watching the news, frequently visiting the movies, and participating in social media, teens are steeped in the media. However, some or most of the information that gets communicated is bad news. There are many horrifying stories that can lead to depressive symptoms. Many people are sensitive to what happens to others, and especially seeing difficult images can play a role in a teen’s vulnerability to depression.
Physical Illness: Something as simple as a physiological illness can cause teen depression. When a young person has an illness that might be long-term or even life long, a depression can set in. It’s easy to see the ways that life and its many opportunities might be lost.
Challenging Past Events: Adolescence is an interesting time of life because it is often an age where unresolved issues from childhood resurface for a teen. If there was childhood abuse, physical or sexual, or neglect, these will tend to show up again in some form. Also, most depressed children come from homes where there is some sort of dysfunction. It could be, for instance, that your parents aren’t very communicative, or that one of your family members has an addiction, or that your emotional and psychological needs were ignored and instead your parents stole the limelight. For instance, your father is never around; your mother is buried in books; and your siblings are off living their own lives now. You feel alone in your own life, trying to figure it all out during one of the most challenging times of growth. Lastly, a loss of a family member, such as a grandparent or parent, can clearly lead to symptoms of depression.
Sometimes, something as simple as a physiological illness can cause depression. If you learn that you have a form of cancer, for example, your emotional state will no doubt be affected. Certainly stress at school and the feeling that you can’t meet the demands being placed on you can have influence on your psychological well being. Add to this any unrealistic academic expectations that your parents have of you and you might feel even more incapable or powerless to meet all of the requests made by parents and teachers. If you were recently in a relationship that broke up, this can play a very substantial role in your emotional state
Of course, if you see teen depression as a possibility, find an adult to talk to – a parent, a teacher, a school counselor. Then, the next best thing is to find your way to a mental health professional that can assess, diagnose, and treat your condition.