While it’s normal for adolescents to experience bad moods, most will quickly bounce back and return to a normal state. When teens are sad, feel hopeless, and withdraw for a period of weeks, or longer, they could be experiencing depression. These negative feelings can become a significant disruption in daily life that affects behaviour, school performance, family relationships, and the ability to enjoy life. For concerned parents trying to understand what causes depression in teens, it’s important to know that there’s a complex range of genetic and environmental factors. With counselling, guidance, and support, your child will begin to feel better.
Understanding What Causes Depression in Teens
Adolescence is a critical period when teens are beginning to form an identity, navigate their social circles, and make decisions without their parents. Hormonal changes also affect teens, which can cause overwhelming mood swings that warp their perception of situations. One of the main factors affecting a teen’s mental health is having poor self-esteem and feeling inadequate around peers. Teens are juggling so many challenges, including academic stress, dealing with peer pressure, and the physical changes of their bodies. Stressful life events, such as experiencing trauma, losing a loved one, or watching parents go through a divorce, can make these normal difficulties of life worse. Without good coping skills, teens can begin to compare themselves to others and feel like they don’t measure up.
Along with these environmental factors, some teens will struggle with depression because of their biology. Mental illness may run in the family. A chemical imbalance in the brain that teens may inherit causes depression. Depression becomes more likely when these genetic risk factors combine with stressful life experiences. Having the right coping skills makes a world of difference, and that’s why counselling can help.
How Parents Can Help Depressed Teens
When doctors do not treat your depression, it can cause lasting damage for adolescents. The first step for getting your child help is simply paying attention to what’s going on with them. Common signs of a depressed teen include:
- Losing interest in activities they enjoy
- Withdrawal from their friends or family
- Big changes in their eating or sleeping habits
- Risky behaviour that’s out of character
- Poor grades
- Sluggishness in talking or general behaviour
If you suspect your teen is experiencing depression, reach out and open up a dialogue about your concerns. Listen without judgment and provide loving support. Talk to them about how professional counselling can help them overcome these challenges.
Treatment for Adolescent Depression
Your depressed teen will benefit from professional treatment that specializes in adolescent mental health. The first stage of counselling will be diagnosing your teen with depression by conducting a mental health assessment. Assessing your teen for risk factors such as suicide or self-harm is a critical part of the diagnosis process. Your teen’s counsellor may also speak with family members or teachers to help them understand the root of the problem. The next step for a counsellor is to design a comprehensive treatment plan that may include talk therapy and medication. If there are problems in the family dynamic, the counsellor will probably recommend family therapy Using a range of methods, the treatment will help your teen develop better-coping skills, learn to regulate emotions, and improve their self-esteem.
Realizing that your teenager is showing signs of depression is an incredibly difficult experience. You should know that professional counselling can make a real difference. At Venture Academy, we have successfully treated many young people who are struggling to cope with life. We have facilities in British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta. Call us at 866.762.2211 to learn more about how we can help your teen overcome this mental illness.