Depression in adolescents: risk factors and warning signs.
We review the symptoms and risk factors for this mood disorder in young people.
Depression is a fairly common psychological disorder in adolescents, with 1 in 5 adolescents suffering from depression during this stage of life.One in five adolescents suffers from depression during the course of this stage of life.
Depression is not a psychological disorder exclusive to the adult stage, children and adolescents also suffer from it and present different symptoms than adults. Depression is a mood disorder that involves many physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms.
This article will describe some of the most common symptoms that will allow us to detect depression in adolescents and some of the risk factors that will influence the development of depressive disorders in adolescents.
- Recommended article: "10 common symptoms that adolescents with depression present".
Most common warning signs of depression in adolescents.
The symptoms that are related to depression in adolescents are the following.
Means that you no longer enjoy activities that you used to enjoy.. This symptom is very characteristic in adolescents, they lose all interest and motivation for most activities, including socializing with friends. This symptom can also be accompanied by apathy and dissatisfaction for doing many of the activities they used to do before.
2. Somatic complaints
These are all complaints about physical discomfort or Pain that have their origin in a psychological problem. For example, headaches, increased tension in the neck or back, abdominal discomfort or pain, etc., are frequent in adolescents. People close to you may believe that you are always in pain or that these are "excuses" for not doing certain activities or obligations. for not doing some activities or obligations.
The child and adolescent psychologist of the Malaga Psychologists Malaga PsicoAbreu, Florencia Stolo, affirms that somatization in children and adolescents is very frequent, since they do not yet have good strategies of emotional expression, and their negative emotions are expressed through physical or bodily symptoms, which are translated into pain or complaints.
The psychologist maintains that we should not think that adolescents invent these symptoms, but that they really feel these pains or discomforts but the cause of them is not a physical illness, but is born from the emotional discomfort they are feeling.
3. Irritability and frequent outbursts of anger
Florencia Stolo, child and adolescent psychologist, affirms that it is believed that the "typical" depression is the one where the teenager is seen in bed crying all day, but that is not usually the case.. The psychologist states that irritability and outbursts of anger are frequent in disorders related to depression in adolescents, since, unlike adults, a system that is also altered in these disorders is the noradrenergic system (related to noradrenaline), apart from the serotoninergic system (related to serotonin).
Susceptibility and greater sensitivity to criticism from others and their environment, not being able to cope with these situations.
5. Social isolation
Social isolation and withdrawal towards people close to them (parents, siblings, friends...). They tend to want to isolate themselves and wish to be alone.
That is to say, a feeling of physical tiredness during a large part of the day.
7. Feeling sad or discouraged
This may lead to frequent crying during the day and night.
8. Presence of sleep disturbances or difficulties sleeping or sleeping more than you usually sleep
Sleep difficulties or sleep disorders include predormitional insomnia (problems falling asleep), nocturnal awakenings (awakenings during the night, which makes the sleep is not of quality and does not favor a proper rest), unrefreshing sleep (feeling of not having rested properly, or waking up tired), nightmares...
Another possibility is that the adolescent with depressive disorder does not have difficulty sleeping, but sleeps more hours than he/she used to. Florencia maintains that it is a defense mechanism they develop, since it is their way of "anesthetizing" themselves of their negative emotions and, since they do not know how to manage them, they try to avoid them by sleeping all day long, because it is the only way they have of not thinking.
9. Changes in eating habits
Like eating more or less and having more or less appetite.
10. Difficulty concentrating and frequent forgetfulness.
They can be observed in everyday things such as: forgetting important appointments or relevant dates, losing the thread of conversations, being absent when with other people, it is difficult to make decisions ... At school this can lead to a worsening in academic performance, they get lost during classes and in the explanations of the tasks, they forget the tasks...
11. Begin to consume alcohol or drugs or increase their consumption of them.
The child and adolescent psychologist of the Malaga office affirms that this is a very frequent way of anesthetizing themselves before their own problems, since they are experimenting with alcohol and other drugs (especially tobacco and marijuana), and they find in them an "anesthesia" that numbs them and allows them not to "feel" negative emotions. find in them an "anesthesia" that numbs them and allows them not to "feel" the negative emotions they experience in their daily lives. that they experience in their daily lives.
12. Passive ideas of death
Thoughts such as: "I wish I would disappear", "I would like to stop living", or self-harming ideation (thoughts or desires to harm oneself physically).
13. High-risk behaviors
Adolescents with mood disorders sometimes engage in high-risk behaviors such as Sometimes adolescents with mood disorders engage in high-risk behaviors such as unsafe sex, shoplifting, or reckless driving.or reckless driving.
Risk factors for depression in teens
The main risk factors predisposing to having a depressive disorder in adolescence are:
History of mood disorders (depressive disorder, dysthymia and bipolar disorder) in the immediate family.
Experience of stressful life events or factors (parental divorce, bullying, intimidation, sexual abuse, break-up with a partner, death of a family member, change of class, poor school performance...). In adolescents, stressful personal, family, social or economic life events can have a great influence on the onset and development of depression. Several studies affirm that the presence of symptoms of depressive disorders in adolescents is related to the degree of stress experienced due to stressful life events.
Not having a stable or well-established social or emotional support network or conformed (problems with their parents, family problems, not having friends...).
Having a chronic physical or psychological illness.
Having a learning disorder..
Have difficulty socializing with peers or others. with peers or other people.
Have low self-esteem and low self-concept.
Being female.. Several studies show that there is a higher prevalence of depression in adolescent girls than adolescent boys.
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- Martell, C. et al.(2010). Behavioral activation for depression. The Guilford Press.
- Schmidt PJ (2005). "Mood, depression, and reproductive hormones in the menopausal transition". The American Journal of Medicine.
- Vieweg WV, Julius DA, Fernandez A, Beatty-Brooks M, Hettema JM, Pandurangi AK (2006). "Posttraumatic stress disorder: clinical features, pathophysiology, and treatment". The American Journal of Medicine.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)