Teenagers have a lot on their plates, including many social, academic and family pressures that can lead to high levels of stress. Most teenagers go through periods of moodiness and irritability due to this stress. That’s normal. However, sometimes the stress and pressure gets to be too much, causing depression in teens mdash; a mood disorder that interferes with daily life routines.
Fortunately, depressed teens usually respond well to treatment, whether it’s in the form of therapy, antidepressant medication or both. Unfortunately, however, teen depression statistics show that many depressed teenagers don’t seek treatment. Worse, parents and teachers may misinterpret the aggression and moodiness associated with depression in teens as normal teenage angst.
Teen Depression Statistics
Teen depression statistics are alarming: According to Family First Aid, roughly one in eight teenagers experiences depression at some point during adolescence; only 30 percent receive treatment. Teen girls are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than boys, possibly because girls are more likely to share their feelings and seek help. In addition, depression in teenage boys often manifests as anger and irritability, rather than more commonly recognized symptoms of depression.
What Causes Depression in Teens?
What causes depression? Depression in teens is a complex disorder that has many different causes. One potential cause is genetics. Depression and other mood disorders tend to run in families. A teenager with a depressed parent, grandparent or other close relative is more likely to become depressed than other teenagers.
Experts also believe that some personality traits are linked to a higher risk of depression. Traits such as low self-esteem and pessimism may make a teenager more likely to be depressed. In these cases, depression is a vicious cycle. Depressed teenagers often feel unlovable and hopeless. These negative feelings feed into a low self-esteem, which perpetuates depression in teens. Teen depression statistics show that these teenagers benefit most from cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can help them break out of this negative cycle.
Other Causes of Depression
Certain traumatic life events may be other causes of depression in teens. Grief is expressed after personal losses, such as:
- Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend
- Divorcing parents
- The death of a loved one.
However, depressed teenagers have difficulty moving on after these setbacks. In some cases, even positive stress, such as taking on a leadership role at school, can trigger depression. Teenagers who are easily overwhelmed by stress are at a high risk for depression.
Sometimes, depression sets in for no obvious reason. Regardless of what causes depression symptoms to emerge, depressed teens need to seek treatment as soon as possible. Possible treatments of teenage depression include individual or group therapy, as well as prescription medication.
Family First Aid Staff. (2004). What is teen depression? Retrieved April 28, 2010, from the Family First Aid website: http://www.familyfirstaid.org/depression.html.
Health Center Staff. (2006). What causes depression? Retrieved April 28, 2010, from the Health Center website: http://www.thehealthcenter.info/teen-depression/causes-of-depression.htm.
Teen Depression Staff. (2005). Causes of teen depression. Retrieved April 28, 2010, from the Teen Depression website: http://www.teendepression.org/articles2.html.
Williams, D. (2006). Teen depression. Retrieved April 28, 2010, from the Peace and Healing website: http://www.peaceandhealing.com/depression/teen.asp.