What really is adolescent depression and how does one distinguishe it from other common growing-up symptoms such as sulkiness, irritability, anti-social behavior, negativity, and social withdrawal? According to psychiatrists, depressed children believe that happiness is achieved through “the acquisition of fame, money and beauty, while happierchildren subscribe to the view that feeling good comes from healthy attitudes and pursuing worthwhile goals. Depression is considered acute if it starts interfering with a child’s daily routine of eating, sleeping and communicating. For a teen suffering from chronic depression, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness are common. The ratio of ‘sad’ or ‘happy’ moments also becomes lopsided.While, a couple of decades ago, children’s depression was almost unknown, today, it is rampant. We are witnessing a changing social topography where a youth’s basic needs relationship, healthy goals and responsibilities are not being automatically met. They are fed a constant diet of image about how they are meant to look, sound and be.Meaning is attached to what they have or look like, rather then what they do or achieve. This triggers a feeling of inadequacy, which then manifests itself as depression.
A study conducted in Nepal reveled that many parent simply do not recognized the symptom of depression in their adolescent children. The best way to tackle the problem is recognizing the warning signals and timely treatment. Even parents who enjoy good communication with their
children do not necessarily realize when their child is depressed. Youngsters go through a riot of hormonal and psychological changes. They
like to assert their individualism, which leads to a lot of conflict. As psychiatrists reiterate that during teenage years, pressure conform to peers is extremely strong. If children feel different, inadequate or deprived in some way, then it leads to depression.
Though the problem of depression is immense the good news is that it is a treatable disease that, with proper intervention, can bring youngsters back from the brink of disaster to lead a productive life. So be alert to the warning signals, if ignored, these signs can be life-threatening, but if addressed on time, the same signs can save a young life from falling into an abyss.