Adolescents face real issues, between the ages of 13 and 19, every day as that is the most challenging and complicated stage of their lives. It is at this stage that teens are exposed to overwhelming and confusing internal and external struggles. As they go through this stage, they are expected to cope with changes in their bodies such as hormonal changes, and pressures from parents, school and even work. Many of the teenagers feel misunderstood. Parents ought to be careful with their children who are passing through this stage and treat them carefully and in a friendly manner to discuss their issues (Gibbons & Poelker, 2019). If the teenagers’ feeling of being misunderstood persists, they find themselves in issues such as depression in their quest of trying to cope with the pressures of puberty.
Depression in Adolescents
Teen depression in today’s world is a severe health problem of the mind that brings a sticky feeling of great sadness and losing interest in activities. It affects how the teenager thinks, behaves and feels and can result in physical, emotional and functional problems. Though depression can occur at any stage of life, it has dire effects of adolescents since their brain is still young and developing (McKetta & Keyes, 2019). External stressors associated with depression in adolescents include academic and social stress, family discord, world events, and traumatic events. Academic stress comes from grades, tests etc. Teens worry about achieving the set standards in school, pleasing teachers and their parents and also coping with peers. Social stress comes from bullying from peers and peer pressure. Family discord stressors include marital fights, illness and financial difficulties in the family which may prompt the teen to develop depression. World events include acts of terrorism and traumatic events such as the death of a family member are also key stressors associated with teen depression.
Teen depression is not always demonstrated by sadness. At times it is characterized by irritability, boredom, anger and finding it difficult to experience pleasure, relate well with family and friends etc. Research says that the first signs of depression in teenagers occur two to three years before the exhibition of the disorder. Early detection of symptoms is very helpful in preventing full-blown disorder. Teens can be screened for depression by asking them whether they are feeling sad, have difficulties in sleeping or are frequently irritated (McKetta & Keyes, 2019). Moreover, one may ask the teenager whether they worry a lot or have lost interested in things they used to enjoy before. While asking these questions, there are ethical concerns that arise and ought to be considered. Such things include romantic relationships where a girlfriend stresses a male teen or a one night trial of something shameful. School stressors and family stressors can be shared with the parent.
Research suggests that about 42 per cent of teens do not know how to deal with issues affecting them, such as depression. There are ways in which adolescents can deal with external stressors. Parents should be the frontrunners in helping their teenagers. They should monitor if external stressors are affecting their teen’s behaviour, health, feelings etc. Teens should be listened to carefully and watched to see whether they are overloaded (Waite & Sheaves, 2020). Parents should learn skills of managing stress to help their teens and support their involvement in sports and social activities. Teens going through depression can be offered support by encouraging them to talk to people, do things that make them happy, engage in physical activities and get enough sleep.
Gibbons, J. L., & Poelker, K. E. (2019). Adolescent Development in a Cross‐Cultural Perspective. Cross‐Cultural Psychology: Contemporary Themes and Perspectives, 190-215.
McKetta, S., & Keyes, K. M. (2019). Oral contraceptive use and depression among adolescents. Annals of epidemiology, 29, 46-51.
Waite, F., & Sheaves, B. (2020). Better sleep: evidence-based interventions. In A Clinical Introduction to Psychosis (pp. 465-492). Academic Press.