Teen Depression: Separating Myths from Facts
23 July 2021
India leads the world in teenage depression. As per studies, one in four teenagers in India tends to suffer from depression. And yet, parents choose to pretend that this does not happen in their own family. It only happens in other places and to other people’s children.
This is because the illness is shrouded within multiple layers of misconceptions. One of the biggest hurdles for anyone suffering from mental illness is overcoming the stigma of having a psychological problem and asking for help. It is the number one reason why a number of teenagers who are in a hard place do not seek assistance from a healthcare expert.
Let’s untangle facts from speculations and assumptions. Believing in myths about depression can be outrightly dangerous, so it is important to change the way we perceive and understand this condition.
MYTH: It's just a passing phase.
FACT: First things first. Depression among teenagers isn't just a phase. It's a real condition. Teens might experience a variety of emotional challenges that they are unprepared to address. Depression may or may not start after something bad happens. Sometimes it may happen for no clear reason. For teens, a stressful home environment or neighborhood, or a romantic disappointment can spiral into depression. Low self-esteem, poor body images, peer pressure, academic expectations, hormonal changes that affect mood and physical disease are all possible causes of teen depression.
MYTH: It's not a real illness.
FACT: Wrong. Depression is a real medical condition in which your brain chemistry, function, and structure are negatively affected by environmental or biological factors. Depression is more than a passing sense of sadness; it is a mental illness. Myths state that depression is just a terrible case of the blues and that it isn't a true illness. Depression is a mental illness that affects a person's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Make an appointment with your doctor if you feel you're suffering from it.
MYTH: You can simply 'snap out' of depression.
FACT: While you can’t immediately snap out of depression, in actuality, it is a complex emotional state that encompasses not only sorrow but also physiological changes such as hunger and sleep disorders, as well as changes in a person's self-concept — how they see themselves. When someone is experiencing a depressive episode, they are frequently unable to see themselves positively or control their bodies.
MYTH: Everyone is affected by depression in the same manner.
FACT: Depression is not a one-size-fits-all condition. Depending on criteria such as age, gender, and living condition, it can induce a variety of symptoms in people. Depression comes in many forms, and people react to it in different ways. For many people, depression is a constant condition that can interfere with daily activities and go on to affect a person for weeks or months. For most teenagers, depression can develop during life circumstances, leading to suicidal thoughts and behavior.
MYTH: Sadness and depression are one and the same emotion.
FACT: Depression is a serious medical condition. It is still confused with ordinary sadness and moodiness. Feelings of sadness tend to resolve on their own, especially with the passage of time and the support of family and friends. However, depression does not go away on its own. People who are sad only feel overwhelmingly unmotivated; however, people who are depressed also feel worried, empty, and hopeless, among other emotions.
MYTH: Talking about depression makes it worse.
FACT: It's a common misconception that talking about depression keeps you focused on awful life experiences and reinforces negative thoughts. Many teenagers say they are reluctant to tell their parents for fear of upsetting them. For them though, being alone with their ideas is far more detrimental than talking about them. Communication with a trusted friend, parent, or professional counselor is important for teens and young adults. Support for the young person and his or her family is critical. Does talking about depression make it worse? The answer is No.
Wrapping It Up
Remember, depression is not a weakness that can be conquered via sheer willpower and determination. If left untreated, it may cause major repercussions and get worse or lead to other problems. If you are a teen and you feel you may be depressed — or you have a friend who may be suffering from the condition — don't wait to reach out for help and support.