Why Early Stress Is Associated With Youth Onset Depression?

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What is depression?

Depression refers to a state of mind wherein a person undergoes constant mood swings, mostly feeling of sadness or loss of interest in almost all things. It affects a person's daily life. It is something that needs to be paid more attention to in our society.

Youth-Onset depression refers to those people's conditions who go through this dark disorder at an early age, in their teen years or early 20s, mostly because of excessive anxiety and stress taken when young.

Why do adolescents get depressed?

It is very common to see teenagers who depressed. A major reason for depression at this age is due to environmental stress. This stress includes stress caused because of low grades, sexual orientation, not having friends, bad family relations, etc. Most of the time, stress is something that teenagers aren't able to overcome even if they wish to.

Physical or mental abuse are two key factors leading to stress. At an early age, kids or teenagers are not very sure or confident about how they should handle certain situations. Sometimes, when they are the victim, they do not know who to reach out to for help or even if they do, they can not because the abusers are the family members themselves. This abuse adds to stress and their minds tend to get distracted due to this pain in their life whenever they try to do something else.

What are the signs of depression in teenagers?

It is often easy to identify depression in teens. Some of its symptoms include:

  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Not eating well
  • Stomach aches or headaches
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Panic attacks
  • Not socializing with friends or family
  • Annoyed or irritable mood
  • Thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts

How can stress lead to depression?

1. Emotional Disorders

Emotional disorders refer to a state of mind where one's mind is disturbed to a great extent. It may lead to irritability, anger, fear of loss, not being enough, etc. and all of this would furthermore add up to the stress, or even lead to depression.

2. Eating Disorders

Eating disorders affect a growing child's age immensely. Usually, teens who are stressed and depressed tend to either eat a lot or not at all. If they overeat, they might develop obesity and gain a lot of weight, which will affect their appearance and they may be even more stressed due to it. If they do not eat at all, they will become undernourished and their growth will be immensely affected.

3.Suicide and Self-harm

Self-harm is the deliberate function of hitting or harming oneself. Those who have thoughts about self-harm are the ones who feel that their life is at a point where there is nothing good that can happen to it and self-harming might juts be another way to go through more pain, simply because they are used to it. Suicidal thoughts are something more serious; they come to a person's mind when he or she feels that there is no way left to escape the situation he or she is in.

A teen who is having such thoughts at such an early age is likely to have a tougher life because his/her self esteem will fall, his/her energy and power to go throughout difficult times will have reached its maximum point and life might be a little harder for him/her if he doesn't get the help and support that he needs.

How to prevent it?

The two major causes of depression in teens are stress and physical or mental abuse. There are different ways to prevent the two;

1. Stress management

There are various ways that teens can follow to decrease their stress levels in their daily lives. They are as follows:
  • Eat well and healthy food.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Do not indulge in illegal activities such as drugs, tobacco, cigarettes, etc.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Keep an optimistic attitude towards things and stay positive.
2. Forms of abuse

To stay away from abusive situations where abuse is involved, one needs to stand for him/her self and stand against what's wrong. There should be absolutely no hesitation to get help from outside i.e. a third person. Various institutions help someone who has been affected due to some incident that happened or is happening in their life.

Teenagers can rely on their parents for help and assistance. Parents will never want anything that is not good for their kids. Parents should listen carefully to what their children are trying to explain to them and give the importance of their feelings instead of ignoring them just because they are children.

Written by - Hunnar Kaushal

Edited by - Chhavi Gupta


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