What goes through the head of a young man suffering from depression?
The stage of adolescence involves an infinity of changes, both physically and emotionally, and also in the aspect of interpersonal relationships.
It is a key stage when it comes to shaping our way of being and focusing on adulthood. Hormonal changes and some social situations can cause the adolescent to be more susceptible and irritable, and it is a stage in which mood disorders can arise and become evident. One in five young people suffers from a depressive condition at some point during this stage. Adolescents with depression can isolate themselves and present symptoms of continuous discouragement.
If this behavior continues for at least six months, it could be a sign that the young person is suffering from some type of depression.
What are the symptoms of depression in young teens?
Several international institutions such as the WHO or the American Psychiatric Association have developed a series of guidelines that define and describe the various symptoms and signs that warn us that an adolescent could be suffering from depression.
Depression in this life stage is the third leading cause of suicide. Therefore, we must be aware of this reality in order to act to minimize this problem.
Below we list the most common symptoms that may indicate that a teenager may be having a hard time :
1. Sleep disorders
When the adolescent severely changes his habits associated with sleeping hours, something may be happening. In some cases, it can be one of the first physical signs of depression. When the young person sleeps too little or too many hours, the underlying disorder could be depression. In any case, the existence of a symptom does not mean that that person suffers from depression, but it is a red flag.
More information on this point: “Sleep disorders: everything you need to know”
2. Abulia: loss of interest
When a teenager who used to have fun and had passionate hobbies and activities loses interest in those things, we should start to worry. We can see how the young man will be elusive and bored, and will prefer to spend a lot of time without the company of friends or family.
3. Changes in eating behavior
It is said that extremes are never good. Well, this case is a clear example of this. When someone completely loses the urge to eat, or on the contrary, overeats, something goes wrong. The eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa, may come closely linked to depression box.
4. Anger and sobs for no apparent reason
Spontaneous displays of anger and sadness are quite common among patients with depressive conditions. When we talk about teenagers, angry outbursts or crying can appear without an observable cause or motive. If this situation becomes frequent, we should consider seeking help.
5. Progressive abandonment of friendships
A noticeable aspect among adolescents with depression is that they gradually withdraw from their friends, showing little interest in socializing and preferring to isolate themselves from contact with other people.
6. Low ability to concentrate and drop in academic performance
The young person who is going through a stage of low mood usually presents a low ability to concentrate, in addition to several problems when it comes to memorizing things and making decisions. These factors, together with lower motivation for studies, tend to result in poorer school results.
7. Low self-esteem and a negative self-concept
The low self – esteem is a very common trait among young people in general, but when it becomes persistent can end up generating disparaging remarks to himself and may be a sign of depression. An excessive feeling of guilt, exaggerated criticism and emotional dependence on other people should also make us notice that something is happening.
More on this question: “Why do I hate myself? Causes and solutions”
8. Aggressive behavior and flirting with illegal substances
In the event that the adolescent begins to be frequently involved in fights or brawls, to “ bully ” one of his classmates or to frequent bad company, he could be suffering from a serious underlying problem. In addition, risky sexual behaviors or flirting with alcohol or other drugs would be factors to take into account.
9. Escapes and other calls for attention
Running away from the family home is one of the possible signs of depression. At times, it can be a defense mechanism for the adolescent, seeking to attract the attention of parents.
10. Suicidal thoughts and ideations
This is a sure sign that the adolescent is suffering from a serious mental health problem. These types of recurring thoughts about death are verbalized with phrases like “I don’t want to go on living . ” In more advanced cases, the adolescent may self-harm or attempt suicide.
Five tips for treating depression
Now that we know the different signs that we can observe in an adolescent with this disorder, we are going to explain how we should act (as parents, friends or family) in the event that a young person in our immediate environment may suffer from depression.
1. Talk to him / her
The first measure we can take to find out why the adolescent is behaving strangely is to talk with him to try to find out the causes. In fact, there are symptoms that may present but may not imply a underlying disorder.
In any case, it is important to talk with the adolescent to find out if he is aware that his behavior has changed and to reach out to him if he asks us for help. If suicidal thoughts are evident, it is a good idea not to approach this topic as taboo. The family, in this type of case, can play an essential role in coming together to help the adolescent feel better.
2. Go to the doctor
We should not be afraid to go to the family doctor. If the symptoms that the adolescent shows are increasingly worrying and complicated to manage, we should go to a specialist in this type of case, for example a psychotherapist. The mental health professional will be able to offer a reliable diagnosis of each case and develop a treatment if necessary, in addition to guiding the parents to manage the situation.
3. Psychological therapy better than drugs
We live in a society that tends to cure everything with drugs. Sometimes drug treatment is necessary, and in the case of depressive disorders there are antidepressant drugs that can be of great help.
Anyway, l or ideal is that the young learn to manage their emotions and channel their motivation properly, and that can not achieve a pill. In cases of mild depression (for example, in dysthymia ), drug treatment is not necessary. What is truly healing is to find a way to express feelings and emotions, and this is easier to achieve with the therapeutic support of doctors and psychologists.
The educational psychologists can also be very useful in detecting and treating such cases. They can decisively help to make the adolescent aware that their situation can and must change. In addition, they are professionals with the ability to adapt the teaching environment as much as possible to the needs of a student with this disorder.
4. Change habits and routines
Adolescents with depression often have very disturbed sleep schedules and are apathetic to routine activities. For this reason, it is advisable to help them develop a well-planned schedule, not very strict but ambitious, in which, for example, we establish a time to go to bed and various activities that the young person feels motivated to do daily.
Being able to share time and space with people who support you can be a dose of positivity.
5. Playing sports, the oldest therapy
Practicing physical exercise is very positive for anyone, but especially for a young person with depression. Finding an activity that suits the characteristics and needs of the young person can be a great way to channel stress and anxiety, as well as a source of good feelings to minimize their negative emotions.
If this activity is done in a group and outdoors, the positive effects can be even better.
You can check it by reading this article: “The 10 psychological benefits of practicing physical exercise”