Adolescence is a phase of life that is accompanied by numerous physical, emotional, psychological and social changes. Unrealistic academic, social or family expectations can create intense feelings of rejection and lead to deep frustration.
When things go wrong at school or at home, teenagers can overreact to these changes and tensions. Many young people believe that life is unfair and feel stressed and confused. It is even worse when teenagers are bombarded with conflicting messages from parents, friends and teachers. Today they see everything good and bad that life has to offer on television, in magazines, on the internet, at school and on the street.
When a teenager’s mood can disrupt social functioning day after day, it can indicate a serious emotional or mental disorder that requires special attention – teenage depression.
About 11% of adolescents suffer from depressive disorders before the age of 18. Girls are more likely than boys to suffer from depression. The risk of developing depression increases as the child gets older.
According to the World Health Organization, major depressive disorder is the main cause of disability among the population aged 15 to 44 years and one of the main causes of death at this age. It is believed that about 20% of adolescents will experience adolescent depression before reaching adulthood, 10 to 15% of them have persistent symptoms of depression and 5% suffer from clinically significant depression. 8.3% of teenagers have been suffering from depression for at least a year. 20 to 40% of adolescents will have more than one episode in two years and 70% will have more than one episode before adulthood.
It is known that young people with depression may show signs that differ from typical symptoms of depression in adults. Children with depression may complain about not feeling well, refuse to go to school, hold on to a parent or guardian, or become too concerned about the death of a parent. Older children and teenagers may be in a bad mood, have problems at school, be negative or irritating, or feel misunderstood.
The average duration of an episode of depression in children and adolescents is 7 to 9 months.
Depression is quite common during adolescence and childhood. About 5% of children and adolescents in the general population suffer from depression. Teenagers under stress, struggling with loss or those with lack of attention from loved ones, learning disabilities, behavioral problems or anxiety disorders are at risk. Adolescent girls are at greater risk of developing depression, as are young people from ethnic minorities. One of the reasons for the high prevalence of depression in adolescent girls is that they are more socially oriented, more dependent on positive social attitudes and more vulnerable to losses in social relationships than boys. This leads to an increase in vulnerability and interpersonal tensions, which are the same in adolescents.
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