What are the signs of depression in female teens?

There was once a time in the medical community where the experts believed that depression affects only the adults and the youth or the teenagers have nothing to do with it. The children or the youth were not considered to be at risk during those days and mental health was an issue to be worried about for the young. 

Depression is mostly defined as a feeling of despair, sadness, or hopelessness. This feeling can last for months or even years and it also has the potential to interfere with someone’s ability to participate in everyday activities. The effected person’s moods, outlook, ideas, appetite and behavior changes because of depression. The person starts seeing everything in a negative way and a feeling of being worthless and unloved starts following soon. The isolation and the feeling of helplessness is known to take a toll on many individuals and it is not dependent on age. Even the young are now being affected by it. 



Depression in teenagers is becoming a major mental health concern in today’s times. This can be simply described as a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in all activities. How teenagers think and act puts a great impact on their emotional and mental health. This is known to result in a number of physical and psychological symptoms and disorders as well. Depression is something which is not specific to gender or age, but depression in teens is known to show an entirely different set of symptoms as compared to depression in adults. 

There can be more than once causes for it. Starting from peer pressure, to academic, and changing bodies of the teenagers. All this and much more leads to a number of ups and down in the lives of female teenagers, sometimes resulting in depression. Apart from life lessons, family history and genetics, a large number of factors are also known to contribute to the youth being depressed today. 

Life of any female teenager is anyway full of ups and downs and highly overwhelming. It is essential that the family is able to distinguish these ‘normal’ signs of teenage from the actual symptoms of depression and thereby start treating them as soon as possible. 

For instance, if the symptoms are temporary and they get over on their own, it might not be depression, but if the symptoms fail to go away, it is sign of depression. One thing that needs to be noted here is that depression in any age is not a sign of weakness. It can be prevented and treated with proper care and diagnosis of the ailment. 

Some of the most common symptoms in teenage that prove that the child is going through depression are:

  • Emotional changes

    • Sadness (usually without any reason)
    • Feelings of frustration and helplessness
    • Feeling empty inside
    • Always being irritated or annoyed at small things
    • Loss of interest in things which were once pleasurable
    • Decreased communication with family and friends
    • Lesser self esteem
    • Overpowering feelings of guilt
    • Self-blaming and self-criticism
    • Future is hopeless
    • Not being able to think straight, focus or concentrate
    • Thoughts of death/dying
    • Loss of interest in general
  • Behavioral changes
    • Loss of energy, fatigued, tired constantly
    • Apathy
    • Sleeping too less/Sleeping too more
    • Frequent changes in appetite
    • Weight gain/weight loss
    • Consumption of drugs/alcohol
    • Agitated/restless while talking to anyone
    • Difficulty in taking decisions
    • Irresponsible behavior-increased complaints from the school/college
    • Slowed body movements/thinking/responding
    • Unexplained body aches, muscle cramps, headaches
    • Social isolation
    • Rebellious nature
    • Poor academic performance
    • Self-harm/self-injury
    • Frequent anger outbursts 
    • Withdrawal from friends
    • No attention to personal hygiene
    • Suicidal attempts plan

Does it run in families?

Yes, depression is known to run in families and is therefore passed via the genes in the family at times. It is known to start by the age of 15. A family history of any mental illness can be responsible the depression in the teenage kids’ lives. 

Don’t use shame and punishment as a mean to discipline your child. Replace it with positive reinforcements for good behavior. You must allow them to make mistakes. Don’t fall in the trap of overprotection. This leads to them becoming less self-confident with each passing day. Respect their privacy and give them enough breathing space to be their authentic self without being pressurized by anyone. 

Never put your unfinished dreams on your child’s shoulders. Your child needs to develop his own experiences and create his own learnings from the same. 

What is the course of treatment?

There are more than one methods of treating depression or any other mental health concern in the youth. Some of these methods include use of medications, talk therapy and psychotherapy. A family therapy is also proven to be helpful in many cases where the cause of the teenager’s depression is the family conflict and issues. 

Many teenagers are also comfortable in talking to their school counsellor about the peer to peer pressure and other school related issues. 

The doctor might also want to check for other mental health issues such as psychosis, anxiety disorder, ADHD, bipolar disorder or more. Accessing the child for homicidal or suicidal tendencies is also very crucial. Studies have revealed that female of the age group 18-24 are more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts as compared to males. 

The FDA has strictly warned all not to use and prescribe antidepressant medications very frequently. Other means of managing the symptoms and therapy sessions are advised and encouraged, and medicines are thought to be the last resort. It is a well-known fact among all the medical practioners that some of these antidepressant drugs are known to interfere and disturb the brain functioning of the youth and might also increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions. 

When should you see a doctor?

If the signs of depression do not seem like getting away and the teenager child is not able to recover on his/her own, a healthcare expert should be consulted. 

Mostly all schools today have a counsellor who is able to help the child with basic symptoms. If things more complicated, it is better to speak to a doctor and get the right treatment. 

Depression is a mental disease and just like all other diseases don’t get treated on their own, symptoms of depression do not go away on their own and they need some attention from the doctor. If left untreated, the symptoms may get worse and can manifest into something else and something more dangerous. 

No medicines should be administered without the consultation and prescription of the professional and it is important to note that there are other effective methods of fighting and eliminating depression other than medicines too.

Keep a note of all emergency contacts

You never know when you will need to speak to an expert for any teenager. You must always have a list of all mental healthcare professionals and experts who are offering their services and practices in the urgent need of hour in your locality. Keep a list of such contact numbers handy. 

Fear of mental health should never become the obstacle for its treatment and recovery towards a healthier mind, body and soul. 

Reference:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/teen-depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20350985

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/teen-depression


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