Adolescent’s Depression Issue Analysis


You may think adolescents are little adults, in fact, they are adolescents. These adolescents live somewhere between childhood and adulthood with specific needs, however different from the needs of children and adults. They often may look like adults, but their behavior on a other hand is childlike. Some of the adolescents grow up normally, but some suffer impaired or disordered development. Usually, an adolescent that doesn’t grow up normally tends to develop a depressive disorder. These adolescents tend to stay away from friends and join abnormal peer groups. They become irritable and moody, often bored, and may neglect their appearance. In worst cases, adolescents feel down on themselves when they are depressed while at a same time tends to develop eating disorders and start using street drugs and alcohol to feel better about themselves temporarily (Robins, 2004).

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Mood, thoughts, and behavior are victims of a dangerous disease named Teenage Depression. In younger children, Depressive disorders develop gradually but mostly it is present in adolescents.

An estimation of 5% of all adolescents will suffer from this depression, but unluckily depressed teens who are properly diagnosed and treated are only 20%. If you don’t know what to look for, then symptoms can be missed while diagnosing these disorders.

Being moody and unhappy is a natural part when someone is young. That is why most likely teachers and parents think that an adolescent is moody or unhappy because it’s natural, but for any human being, it is not normal to remain unhappy or moody constantly. A chemical imbalance in the brain causes a medical illness called depression. Neurons send messages from one nerve ending to another across synapses in the brain. A neurotransmitter is a chemical that helps to transfer information is called Serotonin. (Heavy drugs have serotonin, and that is why teens who use these drugs suffer from depression) when neurons do not function properly, then a person’s feelings, thoughts, and behavior change when in depression. To restore proper chemical balance in the brain, medications such as antidepressants helps out.. (Maciejewski, 2001).


Two primary types of depressive disorders are major depression (unipolar disorder) and manic-depressive disorder (bipolar disorder). Here are some symptoms that can be found in adolescents, which have major depression: loss of interest in usual activities, rapid weight loss or weight gain, poor concentration, sleeping too much or too little, feeling helpless and hopeless, and the more serious would be thoughts of death or suicide. Children as young as five and six years old have made attempts to kill themselves, and some are successful. Symptoms of manic-depressive disorder would be significant mood swings, fast-talking and racing thoughts, too much energy, inability to sleep, easy distractibility, and risk-taking behavior. Along with these symptoms, there are many risk factors for depression. Teens that are under stress or have attention, learning, or conduct disorders have a higher risk of depression. Usually, if there is an a family history of a disorder, there is a higher risk of it being passed on, especially for females. Depression is a very serious disease, and the right measures must be taken to get rid of it. Untreated depression can be life-threatening to an adolescent (Mazure, 2000).

One in ten children who suffer major depression before puberty goes on and usually may commit suicide by a time he/she becomes an adult. Adolescents who have one major depressive breakdown are three to four times likely to have another major depressive breakdown. These adolescents who are depressed are three to four times more likely to use drugs and alcohol than their peers are. For mildly depressed teens a counselor should be seen to talk about a illness and teach a family about depression. A counselor can also look for stresses that are affecting a adolescent and making the depression worse. Family therapy can also be helpful with adolescents. Cognitive-behavioral therapy will help teens that are in a more depressed state. This is when a adolescent learns to question pessimistic and self-deprecating thoughts, and they may have homework assignments to help them sort out why they see the world so negatively. Antidepressant medication such as fluoxetine will help for moderately severe forms of depression that do not improve with therapy. For severe depression, especially when thoughts of suicide, psychotic symptoms, or when an adolescent refuses to eat or drink, hospitalization may be necessary to protect the adolescent (Kendler,2001).

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Effect of not treating the disease

If depression is not treated in an adolescent, there are major consequences that can tag on. If a depressed adolescent is not treated during childhood, most likely the adolescent will experience depressive illness in adulthood. If the depressive condition is not treated soon enough, there is a higher risk of suicide in early adulthood. Once a person has experienced a depressive breakdown, he/she is at risk for developing another even more serious breakdown within the next five years. Early recognition and consistent treatment of this major public health problem can save lives and avoid a great deal of misery. When an adolescent is in a state of depression, he/she may turn to drugs and alcohol to get out of a depressed state temporarily. At this point, it is hard to tell the normal from the disordered. Alcoholism is a very serious disorder that affects 10% of a population of a United States. (Kessler 2004) There are many ways in which symptoms are visible, not only being limited to a activity of drinking, but diagnosis can be difficult at times due to denial of a disorder by the person. This disorder doesn’t have anything to do with gender. It’s present in both sexes and can be found in almost all age groups, socio-economic groups, and all ethnic and racial groups. Adolescence is influenced to drink by siblings and peers, and have also been influenced from observing their parents drink at a young age. If drinking becomes an ongoing habit, the alcoholic usually may distance himself or herself from family, and school habits become ruptured (Nazroo, 2006).

By the eighth grade, 26 % of adolescents have used alcohol, and 11% have used marijuana within the last thirty days, and by twelfth grade, the use of alcohol had risen to 50% and the use of marijuana to 21%. Along with these statistics, there are signs which may mean the adolescent is using drugs. For example, a drop in school marks, a change of friends, stealing money, altered sleeping patterns, staying out late without permission, withdrawal from family or regular friends, and memory problems may come into play. The symptoms of adolescent and adult alcoholics fall into three groups, psychological, medical, and social. If the alcoholic thinks about alcohol from morning till night, and at night, if not too drunk, he/she dreams about it, there is a good chance this person will have medical problems in the future. They may take years to develop, and some lucky drinkers never are affected. For example, a regular adolescent drinker may consume a ridiculous amount of alcohol may be a fifth or a quart of whiskey a day for 5 years or longer and when he/she dies a natural death, their brain, liver, pancreas, and coronary arteries appear normal. However, the odds are strong that something will give. Alcoholics also experience a medical problem that does not come from alcohol but from not drinking alcohol (Bebbington, 1998).

This is called the alcohol withdrawal syndrome. This syndrome is a distressing but temporary condition lasting two days to a week. The mildest symptom is shakiness, which begins a few hours after the patient stops drinking, sometimes awakening him during sleep. Morning shakes are expected if the drinker has been drinking enough. His/her eyelids flutter, his tongue quivers, but worst of all, his/her hands shake. The cure for these symptoms for alcoholics is more alcohol. After a day or two without drinking, the drinker may start hallucinating, seeing and hearing things that others do not see or hear, and often blame alcohol. Many adolescent or adult alcoholics are capable of withdrawing from alcohol on their own. They do this by decreasing the amount they drink, serious withdrawal symptoms; however, usually lead to hospitalization so that the alcoholic can be given tranquilizers to make him feel better, vitamins to prevent brain damage, and frequent medical examinations (Gove, 2005)


Street drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine leave an adolescent depressed after use because they use up the chemicals that sustain a normal mood level to extend the “high” the user craves. Sometimes it is not clear whether their use of ase substances has induced a depression and then disrupted their lives, or whether the depression has caused the drug use, to begin with. The only way of finding this out is by hospitalizing the patient away from drugs and alcohol while being monitored. Alcohol causes depression after both long and short-term use. About 50% of alcoholics develop depression, and 25% of people with major depressive disorder abuse alcohol at some point. For most adolescents eating sure is one of a greatest pleasures. It’s common sense that appetite disturbances accompany all sorts of illnesses. (Mazure, 2000) This seems particularly true when it comes to depression. Some people eat more when they’re depressed, and some people eat less. When in tension, young adolescents also overeat. There are also some poor nutritional habits, food fads, and depression; these are common eating problems. The two eating disorders are increasing for young women as well as teenage girls and often occur in families. Young women suffer from eating disorders in North America as many as 10 in 100 young women. Some boys also suffer from these disorders but less than women. Lifetime risks in women have been estimated at 8% for bulimic syndromes and around 3% for anorexic syndromes. These disorders are extremely hard to identify in a adolescents because he/she hides these serious, sometimes fatal disorders from their families for many months or years (Paykel, 2001).

Basic Symptoms if a adolescent has an eating disorder is as follows: preoccupation with food and weight, “feeling fat” when weight is normal or low, guilt and shame about eating, hiding thinness with bulky clothes, hair loss, yellow pasty skin, weight fluctuations, swelling of salivary glands, and excessive exercise. Anorexia nervosa in teenagers have symptoms that they are good in studies and are high-grade achievers in school, but the problem with them is that that they are not confident and never have good opinions about themselves, and that is why they always think that they are too fat and do not take their regular diet and this damages and harms their body and even causes death. However, Bulimia is quite different in bulimia conditions are that people overeat foods with high calories and finish their eating with vomits. Some of them often use laxatives to help themselves to get rid of their eating habits. Severe diets result in the up and down of weight, and bulimia gives a serious threat to the patient’s health physically including hormonal imbalance and disappearing of important minerals from one body, dehydration also occurs, and some important organs of the body also damages. With both of these diseases, several other diseases such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse also fell upon the patient. However, regular treatment can give relief to the teenager from the symptoms or can control eating disorders. But this treatment most likely requires a team. A team is considered for usually for eating disorders – it also includes individual therapy, family therapy, working with nutritionists, and medication. Like other problems, early identification of the problem will lead to better results (Sherrill, 2005).

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Environmental impact

Today an estimated 276,000 teenagers between 14-17 a years attempt suicide, and 5,000 of a teenagers succeed. There are 29,350 annual deaths. There are eleven deaths per 100,000 people. Internationally, there is a suicidal attempt every forty seconds. Today, we will be talking about the different factors that contribute to teen suicide. Some of are are low self-esteem, bad environment, financial issues, and substance abuse. In the twentieth century, low self-esteem has infected a majority of teenagers in the U.S. Ten percent of adolescent boys, and eighteen percent of adolescent girls contemplated it. In 1985 5,399 teenagers took their own lives. Low self-esteem is caused by being jeered at, taunted, teased, insulted, and by physical hurt. Low self-esteem leads to depression 90% of a time, which then conjures thoughts of suicide that then leads to 80% of a time suicide (Kessler, 2004).

Bad environments include abusing parents, inappropriate content in media violence, not accepting gays and lesbians, and depressed friends. Many times this leads to stress which then leads to depression and then suicidal attempts. Financial issues pertain to worry about supporting the self and/or parents. Another reason could be that the teenager wants to be rich like some of a kids that surround him/her. They take the stress of this job, which then leads to depression. Although the life event literature now clearly indicates that the risk of depression is considerably increased following stressful life events, there are many other causatives and modifying factors. More recently, the focus of interest has moved to other aspects of a social environment, particularly social support. A life event is defined in this text as a change in the external environment, which occurs sufficiently rapidly to be approximately dated. This involves change, something that is relatively abrupt rather than slow, and something that involves the external environment, usually the social environment. A change should be external and potentially verifiable. A change, which is solely subjective, such as the realization that one’s job bores one, may have a personal reality but is not an event, there is one exception: the development of a personal physical illness is usually accepted as a life event since although an internal change, it is externally verifiable, and its personal implications are similar to those of major changes in the social environment. Many teenagers use drugs, and they and they are known as substance abusers. They get distorted perceptions and then get depressed, and then they commit suicide (Gove, 2003).

Social Environments of Adolescents

During life, an individual’s societal, family, and work relationships give a structure for the growth of emotional safety and wellbeing. Throughout adolescence, adolescents contend with increasing societal, financial, and educational demands. Significant changes happen in the nature of individual relationships both within and outside the family, which upshot in experiences of satisfaction and enjoyment as well as times of misery, anxiety, and anger. Peer relationships become more intimate, and adolescents spend more time distributing activities with peers and not as much time in the band of the parents. Whereas parents persist in being significant sources of confiding and helpful relationships for adolescents, contrary expectations can occur between parents and their children. For instance, expectations might differ around issues of academic work, jobs at home, money, and time with friends, and this can be a foundation of disagreement, anxiety, and pressure for all concerned. The stresses and supports that are practiced throughout early adolescence might have substantial importance for the degree to which adolescents are able to knob the numerous challenges connected with this period. Adolescents who practice complexity in their social interactions and are exposed to adverse environmental circumstances are at increased danger of emotional problems. Understanding these changes in societal associations and environments is surrounded by the most demanding and significant tasks for adolescents, their families, teachers, and friends. Schools as societal institutions comprise a large segment of an adolescent’s societal world, and per se, the school’s latent for societal support should be strengthened. We need to reimburse better concentration to a support for teachers and other school workers who play a key function in creating development classrooms, schools and in serving adolescents deal with day to day difficulties. The Gatehouse Project’s framework for the promotion of emotional wellbeing highlights the importance of a social environment of schools and demonstrates that adolescent health promotion should not only be concerned with individual approaches but also should consider the total school environment to which adolescents are exposed every day (Kendler, 2006).

We have begun to inspect those of a societal environment that endorses risk or enhances defense for emotional comfort. Potential research will improve our understanding of a danger and defensive factors for emotional happiness. The data from this paper reveal associations between a sense of safety, societal connectedness, optimistic regard, and emotional comfort, and highlight the possible benefits for all adolescents, not just those deemed to be ‘at risk’. Schools that go to a excellence of societal interactions and environments will give benefits for all students, not only in attractive emotional happiness but also in civilizing academic inspiration, achievements and obtaining assorted health gains (Paykel, 2001). As a teenager, it can be very difficult and discouraging to live with a depressive illness, whether you have the illness, or you’re helping a friend or family member get through it. Fortunately in our present time there is plenty of new scientific research that is currently being done to explore the nature of this illness. By identifying new ways to find the illness it can be stopped before the disorder is full blown. If we find a way to prevent the depressive disorder it will hopefully result in less drug and alcoholic abuse as well as decrease the eating disorders that are derived from depression by teenagers. There is hope out there but we all must take action to prevent this horrific disease (Thoits, 2001).

Areas for future research

The basic descriptive work in life events has been completed and the field needs to move towards exploration of underlying mechanisms and interactions with other factors. Interactions of life stress with factors other than social support have received relatively little study. Interactions with personality and cognitive factors have been studied in laboratory situations but need further exploration outside this controlled setting. It could be, for instance, the obsession personalities are vulnerable to events involving major changes of life patterns. Perhaps the greatest gap lies in relationships between psychosocial and biological factors, including underlying neurobiological mechanisms. The results suggested that men and women did not appear to differ with respect to reporting of events. Rather than simply experiencing different kinds of stress, men and women may differ with respect to biological and psychological vulnerabilities that mediate the impact of environmental experiences. Most prominent in the literature on this subject is the role of loss (Kessler, 2004)

The concept of loss is somewhat diffuse, including interpersonal separation and death, loss of self-esteem and other kinds of loss. A view concerning social support has been proposed, and has gained some support from the literature. The buffering hypothesis proposes that lack of social support only increases the risk of subsequent disorder in the face of adversity, so that support serves as a protective buffer between adverse life events and subsequent disorder. It would also be useful to carry out some research to determine what method of assessing life events is the most comprehensive in gaining the most information from the individual and eliminating recall bias (Weissman, 2004).


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