Teen depression seems to be on the increase. What is causing this epidemic in our teenagers? ~ Sandra
During the teenage years, the pressure to conform with their peers can be incredibly strong. Social media, advertising and television are all telling kids how they are supposed to look and feel, and what is important in life.
A teen’s natural expression, talents, achievement and character can look inadequate next to trends being promoted through social media. Kids who feel different or deprived may spiral down into self-judgement, and loathing. Depression has been the result of changes in our society where a teen’s needs for companionship, healthy goals, responsibility, connection to others and life-meaning are not being met.
Parents are often distressed by their teen’s pain, and lack of interest in activities. Yet, pushing for a different outcome without addressing the cause simply creates more pressure, and distance between the parent and their child. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “The idea that one must be, and look, endlessly cheerful is a destructive and daunting expectation for teens. In actuality, it is perfectly normal to experience “the blues.” He went on to suggest that kids need to learn that happiness is not some end point to be achieved, but rather something that occurs in moments … and that more a more effective goal is to seek a sense of peace and contentment through life’s ups and downs, learn how to see and accept life as is, and find ways to respond appropriately to each situation.
It is important for parents to make a distinction between Situational Depression; a normal reaction to stressful situations or losses, and Clinical Depression; believed to be caused by brain chemistry and not related to external situations. Regardless of the cause, it can be beneficial for teens to work through these periods with help from a trained professional. Emotional well-being means learning how to find resilience, contentment, comfort, and serenity among the various expressions of one’s moods. This is a journey that occurs as one matures. If your teen is in crisis, I would be happy to asses the situation and help remedy it.
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