Adolescent depression: Overview, Causes

Alternate Names : Depression – adolescents, Teenage depression

Definition

Adolescent depression is a disorder that occurs during the teenage years, and involves ongoing sadness, discouragement, loss of self-worth, and loss of interest in usual activities.

See also:

* Depression
* Major depression

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Depression can be a temporary response to many situations and stresses. In adolescents, depressed mood is common because of:

* The normal process of maturing and the stress associated with it
* The influence of sex hormones
* Independence conflicts with parents

It may also be a reaction to a disturbing event, such as:

* The death of a friend or relative
* A breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend
* Failure at school

Adolescents who have low self-esteem, are highly self-critical, and who feel little sense of control over negative events are particularly at risk to become depressed when they experience stressful events.

Adolescent girls are twice as likely as boys to experience depression. A family history of depression makes children more likely to have depression.

Events or situations over which a child or adolescent feels little control can cause depression:

* Bullying or harassment at school or somewhere else
* Child abuse – both physical and sexual
* Chronic illness
* Learning disabilities
* Poor social skills
* Stressful life events, particularly the loss of a parent to death or divorce
* Unstable caregiving

Many adolescents with depression may also have:

* Anxiety disorders
* Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
* Bipolar disorder
* Eating disorders (bulimia and anorexia)

Pictures & Images

Depression in children

Children who are depressed may exhibit symptoms differently than adults. For instance, a depressed child may seem bored and unusually irritable.

Adolescent depression: Overview, Causes

Adolescent depression: Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests

Adolescent depression: Treatment


Review Date : 2/14/2010
Reviewed By : Fred K. Berger, MD, Addiction and Forensic Psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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