Adolescenceis considered as one of the stages of development that arecharacterized by innumerable challenges. It is a stage thatfacilitates the transition of human beings from their childhood toadulthood. This transition is associated with significant changes(such as the development of the sense of responsibility andadjustments related to puberty) that shock the teens. Thedevelopmental phase begins at about 13 and ends at 19 years(Price-Mitchell, 2016). The transition and adjustments associatedwith puberty increase the vulnerability of adolescents to depression.It is estimated that approximately 15 % of all adolescents sufferfrom depression each year (Krans, 2016). A similar study indicatedthat about one out of four teens are likely to suffer from incidentsof major depressions, which mainly occurs during high school (VillageBehavior Health, 2016). The average age of the teens affected bydepression is about 14 years (VBH, 2016). This paper will provide adiscussion of depression among adolescents. The paper will focus onthe causes, effects, diagnosis, and treatment of depression.
Causesof Depression among Adolescents
Adolescentsare at a higher risk of suffering from depression than individuals inthe rest of the developmental phases. The high prevalence of thiscondition among adolescents is attributed to the fact that theyundergo a lot of new experiences that co-occur with significantbiological changes. There are about six major risk factors forsymptoms of depression among the teens. First, some adolescents aresubjected to the risk of sickness by genetic defects. The issue ofgenetic predisposition has been confirmed by the fact that most ofthe adolescents who show depression systems have at least onerelative suffering from the same condition (Meghan, 2012).
Academicstress is another common risk fact that increases the chances ofcontracting depression among teens. Although people start theireducation journey during childhood, adolescence is characterized byan increase in academic workload. Many people join high school andcolleges during this period, which increases the amount of work(Meghan, 2012). In addition, the increase in the cost of educationhas created a scenario in which families are subjecting their teensto excessive pressure to succeed in academics. The pressure thatresults from families and workload leads to depression.
Thethird risk fact is peer pressure where teens face challengesassociated with new and complicated social interactions. Teens arecurious about many things and their decision to try and confirm theirfears subject them to difficulties that result in depression. Thisrisk fact has been confirmed by studies showing that many peoplestart using drugs during adolescence (Meghan, 2012). Some of themengage in risky behaviors out of peer pressure.
Fifth,teens are quite sensitive to emotional neglect than individuals inother phases of development. Although they struggle to becomeindependent from their parents, any sign of neglect can result in asignificant decrease in the level of self-esteem (Meghan, 2012). Thebiological changes that teens go through during this stage result ina significant alteration in their body parts. These changes increasetheir sensitivity to perceived rejection by their parents and peers.Some of them tend to believe that they are rejected because of thechanges that occur in their body. An increase in the level ofperceived rejection reached a point where it turns into depression.
Theloss of loved ones impacts the lives of individuals of all agegroups, but adolescents are affected more than the generalpopulation. This trend has been attributed to the lack of adequatecoping skills. They are affected more than children since they havethe capacity to comprehend the significance of the dead relatives intheir lives. Similarly, the teens are impacted more than adults sincethey can feel the pain of loss, but they do not have adequate copingskills (Krans, 2016). The lack of the coping skills increases thechances of contracting depression.
Adolescentsare reluctant to seek for medical care when they suffer fromdepression. The lack of medical assistance results in other problems.One of these challenges is the risk of suicide. According to Auerbach(2015) adolescents are 6.5 times more likely to attempt to commitsuicide than the general population. The high prevalence of incidentsof suicide among adolescents has resulted in its ranking as the thirdcause of death among this population. In addition, it is estimatedthat about 5,000 adolescents commit suicide each year (Mental HealthAmerica, 2016). The idea of terminating their lives develops whenthey feel helpless due to prolonged symptoms of depression.
Adecrease in self-esteem, coupled with the withdrawal is anotherconsequence of untreated cases of depression among the teens. Thosewho feel rejected tend to isolate themselves, which increase thechances of suffering from additional problems, such as academicfailure, self-harming behaviors, and conflict in relationships(Auerbach, 2015). In worst cases, some adolescents decide to usedrugs as a means to addressing their deteriorating psychologicalcondition. Unresolved cases of depression increase the chances ofconflicting with the law enforcers to an extent of beingincarcerated.
Inmost cases, depression among teens co-occurs with other types ofdisorders, especially when it goes for a long time without treatment.According to VBH (2016) adolescents with symptoms of depression areat a higher risk of suffering from anorexia nervosa, alcoholism,anxiety, and hyperactivity disorder. Therefore, depression opens thedoor for other medical issues.
Depressionis quite difficult to detect when it affects adolescents because itis usually confused with the effects of biological as well as thepsychological adjustments that they go through. According to Krans(2016) many parents tend to think that the symptoms of depression arecaused by adjustments that are associated with the onset of teenageand puberty. Delayed treatment of this psychological problem can beattributed to the confusion between the symptoms of depression andchallenges that teens go through during the normal developmentprocess.
However,parents and relatives can detect depression since its symptoms areprolonged and severe. Some of the key symptoms that can be used todiagnose depression in this population include a significant decreasein energy, talks of suicide, difficulty concentrating, change inweight as well as appetite, feelings of worthlessness, irritability,hopelessness, isolation, and a drop in the academic performance(Krans, 2016). However, parents who fail to pay attention to theiradolescents assume that their sons and daughters have become lazy,irresponsible, and antisocial due to their developmental stage.
Treatmentof Depression among Adolescents
Earlydiagnosis, followed by effective treatment can help the affectedteens recover from their depression and minimize the risk ofsuffering from other disorders. The treatment programs are intendedto empower the adolescents by enhancing their coping skills. In otherwords, the effectiveness of the treatment is measured by determiningtheir ability to help the teens manage issues that subject them tothe risk of dejection (Krans, 2016). Effective therapy is achievedthrough a combination of treatment strategies. Medication can beadministered, with the objective reducing the symptoms of depression.In most cases, medication is combined with at least one type oftalk-therapy.
Thereare three key talk-therapies that can be used to assist the affectedadolescents. First, the application of the cognitive-behavioraltherapy (CBT) assists the depressed persons address their negativebehaviors as well as thinking patterns (Krans, 2016). Secondly, theuse of the psychotherapy gives the depressed teens a chance toexplore their feelings and events that enhance trouble and pain.Therapists who use psychotherapy also seek to equip the teens withthe coping skills that can help them manage the risk factors on theirown. Third, interpersonal therapy is applied when adolescents sufferfrom issues that limit their ability to socialize with other peoplein different settings, such as schools and homes.
Adolescentsundergo developmental challenges that subject them to the risk ofvarious mental and psychological conditions. Depression is one ofthese health problems that affect adolescents disproportionately. Thehigh level of vulnerability and prevalence of depression among theteens is associated with adjustments that the teens undertake as theymove from childhood to adulthood. During this period adolescentsundergo biological as well as psychological changes that surprisethem and increase their vulnerability to depression. The confusionbrought about by the co-occurrence of developmental changes anddepression makes it difficult to detect and diagnose the condition.However, people who pay attention to teens can detect the symptoms ofdepression since they are more pronounced than the signs that arerelated to developmental adjustments. Moreover, early diagnosis ofdepression can result in successful treatment. Therapists focus onempowering adolescents to manage the shock associated withdevelopmental changes.
Auerbach,P. (2015). Depression in adolescents: Causes, correlates, andconsequences. AmericanPsychological Association.Retrieved October 13, 2016, fromhttp://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2015/11/depression-adolescents.aspx
Krans,B. (2016). Adolescent depression. HealthLine.Retrieved October 13, 2016, fromhttp://www.healthline.com/health/adolescent-depression#Overview1
Meghan,W. (2012). Ten things that may cause teenage depression. MindYour Mind.Retrieved October 13, 2016, fromhttps://mindyourmind.ca/expression/blog/10-things-may-cause-teenage-depression
MentalHealth America (2016). Depression in teens. MHA.Retrieved October 13, 2016, fromhttp://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression-teens
Price-Mitchell,M. (2016). Adolescence: All about adolescence. PsychologyToday.Retrieved October 13, 2016, fromhttps://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/adolescence
VillageBehavior Health (2016). Premier depression treatment. VillageBehavioral Health.Retrieved October 13, 2016, fromhttp://www.villagebh.com/depression/symptoms-signs-effects