Depression in youngsters is a psychiatric condition that is characterized by extreme guilt, loss of interest, loss of self-esteem, frustration and persistent sadness. Depression is usually an emotion influenced by stress. Depression is an ideal emotion in youngsters during their maturation process. It is often triggered by the formation of sex hormones. According to a study, young women are twice more likely to get depressed than young men.

Both good and bad emotions influence the adolescent behavior. It can take hours, days or even weeks to change from bad to good emotion and vice versa. This makes it complicated to detect true depression. Adolescents usually get depressed as a result of poor academic performance, death of a loved one, relationship failure, loneliness, including inability to maintain relation with friends and family. Persistent depression could be caused by all these factors. In addition, some of the serious causes include obesity, chronic disorder, child abuse, unhealthy lifestyle, stress, lack of social skills, parental negligence and family history of depression.

Common Signs of Depression

The common signs and symptoms of depression in youngsters include weight fluctuation, abnormal eating disorders, extreme mood swings, irritability, over-sleeping even during daytime, bad temperament, irrational behavior, loss of memory, fatigue, dejection, self-absorbedness, lack of concentration, worthlessness, lack of interest, self-inflictive behavior, hurting others physically, death obsession and thought including contemplation of suicide. It is impertinent for the adolescent to get treated if these symptoms have been recognized for more than two weeks. Apart from affecting the interpersonal relationships, depression also impairs the academic performance. Adolescents suffering from depression are more likely to get indulged in alcohol and drugs in order to get over their depression. Intensive treatment is necessary in such cases.

The physician determines depression by performing a physical examination and blood test. The adolescent may also be assessed for substance abuse behavior including alcohol addiction, addiction to smoking, marijuana smoking addiction, and intake of any other illegal drugs. Despite conducting a physical examination, psychiatric test is also performed to determine the causative factor of sadness, lack of concentration, irritability and lack of interest. Depression can also trigger other psychiatric illnesses like mania, anxiety and schizophrenia. The adolescent should be checked for self-inflictive behavior as well as for hurting tendency on others. School staff and family members can provide more information to the physician about the adolescent.

The depressed adolescents are treated with the same therapy as in depressed adults. In addition to that, a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressant drugs is given to the adolescent. Some of the antidepressant drugs that are commonly prescribed include prozac, tricyclics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and so on. It is advised to the parents to discuss about the medication side effects with the physician as some of the antidepressants are associated with increased risk. Children and adolescents are treated with very few antidepressants. Youngsters suffering from severe depression require hospitalization to avoid their suicidal contemplation.

The depression in adolescents can be best tackled with support from both school and family members. Parents have an option to admit their children in emotional development schools, wilderness programs, and boot camps to avoid their behavioral abnormalities. These programs include offering confrontational treatment from the non-medical staff. Precautions should be taken to avoid the depressed and sensitive children from getting hurt by some of these programs. Special care should be taken by the parents in case of adolescents involved in criminal offense. It is impertinent to teach a lesson to the child by exposing them to the consequences. Depressed youngsters should be treated early and comprehensively in order to experience a positive outcome. Teens were more likely to suffer from depression compared to more than half of the adults.

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