Depression is a chronic psychiatric illness accompanied by a “large triad” of symptoms. A fall in the level of emotional background, weakness, lethargy, and also apathy, combined with anhedonia. Inability to feel joy, positive emotions.
Instability in the course is typical of teenage depression. It is not as persistent as in adults with a mature psyche, but it is often more difficult in terms of flow. And in view of the impulsiveness of young patients, the likelihood of suicidal attempts is much higher. Statistics say the same thing, vividly confirming what was said.
Symptoms are not different in structure, but more diverse in terms of intensity and strength of manifestations. Recovery in this case seems to be a rather difficult task. Since amplification of already obvious manifestations is possible. It is required to carefully approach the selection of quality therapy. This is the task of a psychotherapist; medical correction cannot be avoided in such a situation. Without treatment, cases of spontaneous regression are possible, but when improvement occurs it is impossible to say in advance.
The prognosis is positive, if you do not hesitate to start therapy for depression. Otherwise, it all depends on the quality of the correction, the qualifications of the treating specialist, as well as the individual characteristics of the psyche of the adolescent, his psychotype. At least from age. In adolescents 12-13 years old, depression is fragmented. In adolescents aged 14-15, the disorder is more “mature” and more aggressive in terms of course. At 16 years of age and later, the deviation differs little from that in adults.
Causes of Depression in Adolescents
The reasons can be very different. In general, they differ little from those in adults. The key difference is hypertrophy and at the same time immaturity of the behavioral reactions of young people and girls, hence the unpredictability in the etiology of the disorder. Anything can provoke an episode of violation, even a minor trifle. Yet often problems are on the surface.
- Mental injuries
Such as the death of relatives, parental divorces, communication problems, as well as interaction with the opposite sex. All this can affect the state of the psyche. At the same time, the development vector in this period is more associated with interaction with others. Therefore, social troubles play the largest role in the development of negative states. The only way to prevent this outcome is to reduce stress resistance, which is not easy for many. Especially without the help of a treating specialist.
- General immaturity of the psyche
Typically absolutely for all individuals from 11 to 18 or so. The processes of folding the psyche end by 17-19 years. The formation of the cerebral cortex by about 21 years. Hence the high mobility of nervous processes, the tendency to instability of the level of neurotransmitters. Adolescents are generally more prone to depression for this very reason. But they exit the state easier just because of the same factor.
- Lack of proper social contacts, feelings of belonging to a group
Identification of oneself as a member of a certain collective, group becomes an important component in adolescence. This is an urgent issue that requires resolution in young years and plays a large role in the socialization of young people. Without social contacts, a person feels that he is a lonely outcast. With an additional obvious rejection of the teenager by the team, neglect, insult, severe forms of depression are possible. And besides there are also problems in establishing close relations and even formal contacts in the future. Therefore, if such a problem is discovered in your child, you must, at a minimum, consult a psychologist. In the formation of pathological signs such as autization, the fear of society – to the therapist .
- Hormonal disorders
Young people and girls are particularly prone to hormonal disruptions. At the age of 11 to 18-19 this is quite normal. The puberty, puberty proceeds. It is associated with jumps in the level of all hormones. The body is still developing. If necessary, consultation with an endocrinologist is possible. Treatment is carried out as needed.
- Severe stressful situations
Chronic nervous tension. During years of schooling, stress is an integral part of a person’s daily life. Especially considering modern curricula. Which do not take into account the need for rest. The need to adapt to teachers, to contact with peers cause complex stressful reactions that quickly go into the chronic phase and begin to deplete mental resources. Pretty quickly, over the course of several years or even months, probably the development of depression, it forms gradually. The increase in the phenomena of apathy and anhedonia is immediately noticeable. It turns out a vicious circle. A teenager in depression learns worse, problems with teachers begin, which does not add to the positive. It is necessary to conduct treatment and only after returning the child to active learning activities.
- Lack of proper rest
In young years, you need to rest at least 8 hours during the night. Further on demand, it depends on the characteristics of the body and the nature of daily activities. With high activity, mental overload of study, you need to relax more, avoid stressful situations, learn techniques of nervous self-regulation, relaxation. All this will increase the stress resistance and endurance of the body and psyche.
- Alcohol consumption
In young years, alcohol affects the nervous system exhaustively. With systematic consumption, it is possible and even likely to develop dependence . With withdrawal, a pattern of severe withdrawal develops. Alcohol affects the immature psyche negatively due to inhibition of the production of serotonin, endorphin. Therefore, adolescents are strictly forbidden to drink in any form and quantity. Depression is far from the only possible consequence.
- Lack of physical activity
Indirect factor. It is necessary to adhere to the optimal level of activity in normal health. Because stagnant processes in the body provoke disorders of the endocrine system.
- Menstrual cycle
Teenage depression in girls during maturity can occur cyclically. There is a connection with the menstrual cycle.
These points make it possible to recognize depression in adolescents, to assess its origin, etiology. And that means prescribing competent treatment, including with the aim of preventing the repetition of a negative scenario. So that everything is limited to one single episode of the pathological process.
In addition to these causes, organic disorders are much less common in the type of brain injuries, infections. A tumor of cerebral structures and even other mental disorders up to schizophrenia . Diagnostics allows you to put an end to the question.
Symptoms of Depression
In adolescence, the symptoms of the deviation under consideration are not much different from those in patients in adulthood. There are several typical features. The main one is a more complex and aggressive course of the disorder. If we talk about specific signs, then they are evaluated using a special technique. A study of depression in adolescents is carried out using a special Hamilton scale. The test for teenage depression is used both for the initial examination and for the identification of the quality of the therapy.
What types of diagnosis exist?
A group of manifestations is considered as the basis of the violation. There are three of them:
- Anhedonia. Inability to experience positive emotions. Complaint of all patients without exception with a named deviation. Manifested by a feeling of longing, sadness, hopelessness. In some cases, a complete lack of emotions is possible, which is even more difficult to tolerate. Emptiness in the emotional sphere is caused by the weakness of the transmission of a nerve impulse. This is the result of insufficient production of neurotransmitters.
- Inhibition of action. Decreased reaction rate, thinking. Therefore, problems with academic performance are likely and even inevitable. Even the most diligent student. In such a period, study does not make much sense. With true depression, adolescents experience changes in the brain that interfere with the normal absorption of information.
- Lethargy. Unwillingness to do anything. Unlike banal laziness, we are talking about a problem of the organic plan. That is, there is neither desire nor opportunity. Thoughts and stimuli do not cause an emotional response. Engagement. Therefore, activity is not possible until at least partial recovery is achieved.
In addition, other symptoms of the pathological process are detected:
- Feeling of guilt. It occurs in adolescents a little less than in adult patients. But if present, transferred much more sharply.
- Propensity for suicidal attempts. The desire to commit suicide. In sufferers at a young age, this is extremely impulsive behavior. If a narcissistic component is present in a person, then suicide acquires the character of theatricality and indicativeness. As a call for help and the desire to attract attention. Which, however, does not exclude possible real intentions to take scores with life.
- Insomnia. Problems with normal falling asleep. Inability to fall asleep. Typical daytime drowsiness, when a teenager literally tumbles down from fatigue. Such symptoms are associated with an imbalance of neurotransmitters. The reverse is also possible. When the energy potential rises. Forces strike over the edge. Falling asleep is normal, but frequent waking up at night is found. Almost every 10 minutes. It is clear that talking about the rest in such a situation is not necessary.
- A vague feeling of anxiety. Causes increased mobility of the sufferer. He can swing from side to side, move around the room back and forth. Such symptoms are typical of mental disorders. If the patient takes antidepressants, akathisia is possible. In this case, it is necessary to distinguish such restlessness from the manifestation of the disease.
- Excessive agitation. It is somewhat less common. But more often than in adults due to the mobility of the nervous system.
- Manifestations of the digestive tract. Usually these are diarrhea, constipation, or an alternation of stool disorders. Possible manifestations as dyspeptic phenomena. Nausea, vomiting, digestion disorders.
- Hypochondria. Search for symptoms of non-existent diseases. In adolescents, depression is rare in hypochondria. With a tendency to hypochondria, a person is very clearly aware of the presence of a mental disorder, and retains full criticism of him. What does not always happen in other categories of sufferers.
It is necessary to distinguish classical depression as a diagnosis from a syndrome in the framework of bipolar-affective psychosis. The latter often manifests at an early age and is manifested by the alternation of reduced emotional background and manic episodes with euphoria, increased energy and mobility.
For the disease, diurnal fluctuations of the condition are typical. Here a lot depends on the specific form of the pathological process:
- Major depression in adolescents is accompanied by a complete triad, plus there are 2 or more optional signs. This is a classic form of the disease.
- Small. Gives reduced symptoms. Only part of the characteristic moments are present. For example, 1-2 from the big triad and 1-2 from the optional list.
- Atypical. It is accompanied by the absence of a characteristic clinic. Diagnosed longer. Perhaps placement in a hospital for examination and treatment.
- Psychotic. Dangerous form. It gives psychotic, productive disorders of the type of hallucinatory, delusional syndromes.
- Dysthymia. Atypical form, for which the most characteristic decline in mood and lethargy over time. It may exist in premorbid or enter into a typical symptomatic complex.