Depression can strike anyone. We are all susceptible, after all we are all human beings with feelings. But teens appear to be at a higher risk than others. Their bodies and minds are caught up in a storm of physical and hormonal changes. For the first time in their lives, teens are faced with real-world problems. And often, they do not have the requisite skills to face up to these problems and overcome them. This inability to control their perceptions and situations leads to negative thoughts and eventually to depression. There can be many biological, psychological and social factors leading to depression.
Important Factors that Cause Depression
Pressure to perform well:
The most widespread reason for depression in teens is the pressure to perform well in academics. Parents are naturally very proud of their children and expect them to perform much beyond their capacities. When children fail to perform as expected, parents blame the child for being distracted or uninterested.
Problems like separation of parents or conflict might scar teens. A teen, who is at a confusing stage in his life, may blame himself for the problems between conflicting parents. Sometimes, parents can unwittingly vent their negative feelings on their teen children and worsen the situation. Financial problems in the family may lead a teen to feel that he is an unnecessary burden.
Lack of attention:
Lack of attention from parents during teen years can be a cause of depression. Relationships in dysfunctional families are weak and can quickly deteriorate, essentially forgetting the child. Teens are still not fully-formed adults, and though they may seem quite capable of being independent, they need support from time to time. The need to be independent can alienate a teen from his parents.
First feelings of attraction towards the opposite sex make themselves apparent during the teenage years. Teens have a very simplified way of looking at things and might get caught up in a storm of hormones. Such entanglements can be stressful. Breakups or unrequited love can be very difficult for a teen to understand and deal with.
Some individuals have a genetic predisposition for depression due to heredity. This is especially the case, if there is another blood relative in the family with a history of depression. Any of the above factors might act as a trigger for this tendency and cause depression in a teen.
This is a very serious factor that causes depression among teens. Bullying can take any form, whether on the playground or on the internet. Already vulnerable, bullying might reinforce negative thoughts about himself in a teen, lowering his self-esteem. The teen could feel suffocated because he sees no way of escaping bullying, and this causes depression.
Sexual abuse in childhood or early adolescence could seriously hamper the emotional growth of a teen. Physical abuse has similar effects. The teen develops feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and deep shame. With growing age, these feelings are further consolidated and cause depression.
Teenage is also the period when children first encounter alcohol, cigarettes and possibly other drugs. Being impressionable and lacking appropriate judgmental capacity of an adult, teens might make wrong choices and end up becoming addicts and abusing these drugs. No matter why they start or which substance they abuse, even prolonged cigarette smoking, can have an adverse impact on teens. Dependence on such substances increases with time and the side effects lead to depression and can be fatal in some cases.
Teenage is a delicate phase of life. Teenagers may act like a grown up, but actually they are not. They are not equipped to handle the various ups and downs of life. In most cases, they are unable to share their problems with their near and dear ones and end up in depression even without being aware of it.