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Teenage Depression: Statistics, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Teenage Depression

Teenage depression, as the name suggests, affects teens (aged 12-17) in a very high number. During this phase, teens go through a feeling of sadness, loss of interest and discouragement. It affects every aspect of a teenager life. Their performance at school and other activities get affected. They might also start self-loathing or drug abuse, commit violence or suicide. These are just a few important symptoms of teenage depression. The list is actually big. Hence, if you find a teenager to remain sad and low for a prolonged period of time, you must seek help from a medical expert. 

Teenage depression also known as adolescent depression is a state where a teenager feels sad, remains depressed and loses interest in daily activities of life.

Teenage Depression Statistics

It is very important to understand the worldwide common teenage depression facts in order to know the severity of the illness.
  • About 20% of teens experience this illness throughout the world.
  • Only one out of five depressed teens receive treatment due to unawareness of the problem.
  • Adolescent girls are twice likely to fall into depression than adolescent boys.
  • Most teenagers who suffer from depression experience more than one episodes of depression every year.
  • Depressed teens may also fall prey to dysthymia, major depression or seasonal depression.
  • Every year, about 5 lakh (0.5 million) teens commit suicide as a result of teenage depression.
Do you know? Girls are more likely to fall in depression than boys. The ratio is normally about 2:1.

Causes of Teenage Depression

A lot of factors contribute to teenage depression. Some of them are as follows:
  • Death of a loved one
  • Learning disabilities
  • Pessimist attitude
  • Hormonal changes
  • Conflicts with parents or siblings at home
  • Excessive self-loathing
  • Family history of depression
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Chronic illness
  • Failure at school in studies or sports
  • Being bullied at school or other places
  • Lack of social skills
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor parenting
  • Stress
  • Break-up with a girl-friend or boy-friend
  • Influence of sex hormones
  • The stress that comes while maturing

Symptoms of Teenage Depression

Below is a list of all the teenage depression symptoms that were found among depressed teens. If some or all of these symptoms last for two weeks, then you must immediately seek help from a health professional.
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unable to take decisions
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent crying
  • Low self-esteem
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Agitation
  • Episodes of memory loss
  • Lack of motivation
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Change in appetite
  • Apathy
  • Self-loathing
  • Unexplained body pains like headache or stomach pain
  • Irritation
  • Change in overall personality
  • Anger
  • Poor academic performance
  • Loss of interest
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Irresponsible behavior
Associated Disorders:

Many depressed teenagers may also develop the following disorders -

Teenage Depression Treatment

There are two major options available for treating teenage depression. Depending on the severity of the illness, the treatment can vary from person to person.
  1. Talk Therapy – Talk therapy is a great way to reduce stress and low feelings in a teenager. Here, teens can talk freely to the doctors about their problems, their worries, concerns and apprehensions, if any. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a well-known form of talk therapy. It enhances the problem solving skills of the depressed individuals, helps them develop positive approach to life and builds up courage to fight negativity of their life. If the teen is depressed because of family issues, then family therapy can work best to resolve the existing issues and develop a better approach in dealing with personal relations.
  2. Antidepressant Medications – Escitaopram and Fluoxetine are the well-known medicines available for treating depression in teenagers. These medicines have their own side effects and hence, it is highly recommended that you consult your doctor before taking these medicines. By merely cross-checking the signs of depression in teenage girls and boys on your own won’t help you conclude on the severity level of the illness. Only a professional medical expert can diagnose depression properly.

Prevention of Teenage Depression

In order to prevent teenage depression, parents should do the following -
  • Do not keep alcohol at your place.
  • Keep talking to your teen every now and then and try to solve his/ her problems.
  • Lock up all guns and ammunition.
  • Don’t put pressure on teens to get higher grades at school or college.
  • Allow them to spend more quality time in their favorite activities like playing chess or football, hanging out with friends, etc.


In most cases, teenage depression responds to the given treatment provided it is diagnosed at an early stage.

How to Help and Support a Depressed teenager

The depressed teen should be treated with extreme care and love by his/her family members and friends. This will help them recover from teenage depression at a much faster rate. Below is what you can do:
  • Learn about teenage depression and understand the teen’s behavior patterns. This will enable you find solutions to their problems and help change their perspectives.
  • Encourage them to start exercising or do yoga or do some breathing exercises. This will help relieve stress and freshen their whole mind and body.
  • Be in touch with them and try to communicate. Listen to their problems and try finding solutions.
  • Don’t sympathize but empathize.
  • Encourage them to socialize with friends and families. Plan weekend outings.
  • Make sure teens take medicines on time and follow doctor’s advice properly.
  • Don’t blame them for anything. Remember they are already depressed and by playing the blaming game, situation might just worsen.
  • Encourage healthy eating habits.

How to Prevent Teenage Depression

Depression in teenage girls and boys is a very common problem. They feel low because of academic pressure, fights with friends or family conflicts. But such issues can be resolved as they last for a short period of time. Hence, it is important for parents to regularly communicate with their children about their daily lives. Giving them proper support, guidance and care can enable them to deal with their issues in a stronger way. Their sadness won’t persist for long and thus teenage depression can be prevented. Besides, in families with teenagers, kindly take note of the following:
  • Keep guns and ammunition locked in a cupboard
  • Do not keep alcohol
  • Keep the prescribed medicines locked

Important Issues Related to Teenage Depression
  • Drug Abuse – A lot of teenagers fall prey to drug abuse. Obviously, no parent would like his child to consume drugs. So, if this has already become your problem, then immediately seek medical help.
  • Smoking – It is very common for teens to start smoking when they are depressed. But a recent study suggested a contradiction to the above line. Smoking can cause depression among teens.
  • Shoplifting – Many teenagers engage in shoplifting when they are depressed.
  • Violence – Depressed teens are unable to think clearly and hence their probability of committing violence increases.
  • Drinking Alcohol – It is one of the most common effects of teenage depression.
  • Suicide – In extreme cases, teens have been reported to commit suicide as a result of teenage depression.
Besides all these, you should always remember that family plays a vital role in curing teenage depression. So try to maintain a happy, cheerful and healthy environment at your place.


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