Saturday, April 13, 2024

What Causes Depression And Anxiety In Teens

Drinking And Drug Use

Signs & symptoms of anxiety and depression in teens

Many teens experiment with alcohol and, in some cases, drugs. They know they shouldnt be doing this and that their parents will disapprove. Peer pressure might also be involved. All of these factors can lead to teenage anxiety before, during, and after the experimentation. Worse, some teens will go on to become addicted to these substances, which raises anxiety levels even higher. Finally, some teens who are anxious already will turn to these substances as a form of self-medication. It rarely works instead, anxiety levels go up, which leads to more self-medication.

Help Your Teen Build Strong Connections

Ginty Butler: Having a strong connection with an adult helps protect teens against anxiety and depression. This relationship could be with a parent, but it might not be. Depression and anxiety come with an enormous amount of shame and self-blame. Teens who feel this way may push their parents away. If so, parents can help their child cultivate a connection with a trusted adult, such as a coach, school counselor, or the parent of a friend.

Teen Anxiety And Depression Are Terrible

Imagine that you are driving your family to church, and you suddenly hit black ice, spin out of control, and start heading toward a precipice. Your fight-or-flight system is firing on all cylinders. Youre sweating, your heart is pounding, your muscles are tensed, your insides are doing somersaults, and you know you are about to die.

But, by Gods grace, your vehicle stops just before going over the cliff. You are safe but shaking uncontrollably your guts are a mess, you can hardly string two words together, you want to cry or even scream.

Thats what anxiety is like for many of our teens. You will calm down an hour or so after your brush with death, and eventually the memory of the black ice will fade. But for anxious teens, its like they are heading toward the precipice twenty-four hours a day. Thats how terrible and terrifying this can be for them. Its as horrifyingly real to them as you heading toward the cliff. Try to remember that when you are talking with them. Or look up the hashtag #thisiswhatanxietyfeelslike on Twitter to sample some of the raw descriptions that people have submitted.8

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Depression Is Not Who You Are

Rather than promoting healthy changes in thinking, acting, decision-making, and connection, we are hindering the positive expectancy and motivation that is critical to the treatment of these problems. And we are inhibiting an important discussion about risk factors, prevention, and recovery.

When we give teens the message that this is who they are,â that their brains are imbalanced, and that depression is a disease that âjust shows up,â our attempts to help are possibly doing the exact opposite.

Depression and anxiety in teenagers are very real and very destructive when left alone, but treatment that focuses on building resources and skills is very successful.

Teen Anxiety And Depression Are Normal

Teen Depression: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Apart from using statistics and the Bible to assure teens that anxiety and depression are common, one of the best ways we can normalize these problems is to talk about mental illness and other emotional disorders as common experiences in a fallen world. Speak about it around the supper table or in the car. If we are teachers or preachers, we can talk about it in the classroom, in the pulpit, or at youth groups. Look out for long-term changes in your teens behavior and moods and take opportunities to ask her whats going on in her thoughts and feelings. You could say, for example, You seem to be a bit down or troubled. Can I help in any way? To maximize the chances of your teen opening up to you, try not to come across as judgmental, critical, or scared.

Only one thing is worse than never talking about such disorders, and that is to mock, shame, or stigmatize those who suffer with them. Such a cruel and arrogant attitude will ensure that our teens will never talk to us about these challenges or seek our help. They will either bottle it up and suffer in silence, or else they will seek help from others outside of the Christian community, who may lead them astray. At worst, they may start cutting themselves to find temporary relief, or even attempt suicide as a permanent solution.

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Teen Anxiety And Depression Are Treatable

One of the most encouraging aspects of teen anxiety is that although it is so common, varied, and terrible, it is also one of the most treatable mental or emotional disorders. Thats why its so tragic that a 2015 report from the Child Mind Institute found that only about 20 percent of young people with a diagnosable anxiety disorder get treatment.10

Depression is more stubborn to remove, but, theres still much that can be done. God has provided many ways to heal these agonies or help your teen to manage and handle them better. As parents, pastors, teachers, and counselors, we have a great opportunity to reach out to our suffering teens and help them access help, as well as play a role in providing help ourselves. One of the first steps in becoming a resource for our suffering teens is understanding whats actually happening in these disorders.


  • Anxiety Disorder Definitions, National Institute of Mental Health, 2017, https://www
  • Corrie Cutrer, Why Are Our Children So Anxious? Christianity Today, January 6, 2017, -teens.html.
  • Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, The Coddling of the American Mind, The Atlantic, September 2015, -american-mind/399356/.
  • Social Media Causes Depression And Anxiety In Teens

    If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. Furthermore, that country would be home to a large amount of teenagers.

    A study from Pew Research Center revealed that 92% of teenagers ages 13-17 go online daily. Out of that number, 24% say they are online almost constantly and 56% go online several times a day.

    Whether its Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, social media platforms are flooding the internet and new ones are emerging every day. Although social media can be a great tool to connect to others around the world and keep up with friends, overusing social media keeps you in the web rather than the real world.

    In the world of social media, it is easy to become overwhelmed. With so many different platforms, its hard to keep up with everything. Updates are happening all day long at all hours of the day. If you have friends in other parts of the world, you know when its night time one place, its daylight in another.

    The set of tests measured:

    • Sleep Quality
    • Pressure to be Available 24/7
    • Anxiety about Response Time

    In the study, Dr. Cleland Woods explained:

    Upon further analysis, the study revealed that night-specific social media use and emotional investment were the traits most linked to poorer sleep quality, lower self-esteem as well as higher anxiety and depression levels.

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    Teen Anxiety And Depression Often Come Together

    You might be wondering why one book would try to deal with both anxiety and depression. Arent they different problems? While there are differences, many experts now view them as two sides of the one coin, or two faces of the one basic problem. Yes, someone can be depressed but not anxious, or anxious without being depressed, but about 50 percent of teens who have one also have the other, to some degree.

    When it comes to depression, 13 percent of twelve- to seventeen-year-olds experience major depression in any one year, with depression affecting about 20 percent of adolescents by the time they become adults. Thats every fifth teen in your childs class.

    We also find biblical figures who experienced depression. Look at how depressed the psalmists were in Psalm 32 and Psalm 88, how depressed Elijah was at the lowest point of his ministry , and how Job slipped into depression at various times .

    As anxiety is more common than depression for teens, and it usually comes before depression, the primary focus of this book will be anxiety. However, most of the remedies work for both anxiety and depression, as we will see.

    Treatment For Mild To Moderate Anxiety Includes:

    Signs of anxiety and depression in children and teens
    • Adopting a healthy lifestyle, which includes enough sleep, proper nutrition, and physical activities. Counseling also uses different techniques to deal with anxiety in teens.
    • Dealing with anxiety-causing issues by confronting them in different ways.
    • Reducing stress through relaxation and meditation.
    • Using online platforms to discuss the issues with other teenagers or even adults struggling with anxiety.
    • Executing time management strategies to cope up with the pressure of studies or exams.
    • Spending time with pets, especially dogs, at home can help in reducing symptoms of anxiety .

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    Get Help Finding Treatment

    Here are tools to find a healthcare provider familiar with treatment options:

    Early Detection And Treatment

    It is crucial to address the needs of adolescents with mental health conditions. Avoiding institutionalization and over-medicalization, prioritizing non-pharmacological approaches, and respecting the rights of children in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other human rights instruments are key for adolescents mental health.

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    A Cry For Help Or Something More

    As a parent, I didnt notice the difference between depression and normal 15- and 16-year-old behavior until after the fact, Tracy Peter told the Portland Press Herald. Her son killed himself when he was only 16. What if I had recognized the signs? she wonders. Jurich calls hopelessness and helplessness the Molotov cocktail that triggers teen suicide.

    Now lets get to the hope, Borchard says. According to, 80 percent of teens with depression can be successfully treated if they seek the right help. I am part of that statistic. Teen depression doesnt have to mean a lifetime of struggle, and it certainly doesnt have to end in suicide.

    Why Am I Depressed

    Dealing With Teenage Depression And Anxiety

    Despite what you may have been told, depression is not simply caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that can be cured with medication. Rather, depression is caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. Since the teenage years can be a time of great turmoil and uncertainty, youre likely facing a host of pressures that could contribute to your depression symptoms. These can range from hormonal changes to problems at home or school or questions about who you are and where you fit in.

    As a teen, youre more likely to suffer from depression if you have a family history of depression or have experienced early childhood trauma, such as the loss of a parent or physical or emotional abuse.

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    Causes Of Depression And Anxiety In Teens Or Among College Students

    1. Definition Of College Depression

    Depression is described as an illness which is the root of all consistent feelings of sorrow as well as lack of interest. It is not a medical diagnosis. It is a mental illness that many patients have to deal with during college.

    There are many causes of college depression, such as pressure, challenges and anxieties which make students feel overwhelmed. They are probably feeling homesick since this is their first time to live on their own. They are perhaps struggling to adapt to schoolwork or a new schedule, trying to adjust to life with new friends and new roommates, figuring out how to blend in. Main causes of depression can also come from intimate relationships and money. In some college students, difficulties in coping with these sudden and dramatic changes during the transition phase from adolescent to adulthood can unmask as well as trigger depression.

    2. Forms Of Depression

    Dysthymia: this form of depression is less intense than the previous one. It includes long term symptoms which are not as severe. However, experiencing this type can keep you from getting the most out of your own ability and from feeling energetic.

    3. Sudden And Dramatic Changes

    4. Intense Pressure

    5. Increased Accessibility To College

    6. Shifting Gender Ratios

    7. Lack Of Efficiency In Handling Mental Health Issues

    8. Increased Responsibility

    9. Addiction As Well As Substance Abuse

    10. Downward Spiral

    11. Get Help/Treatments

    How To Deal With Teenage Anxiety At Home

    The best way to help a teenager struggling with anxiety is to start with basic home care tips mentioned here :

    • Try to understand the fear that they are struggling with. Support them in finding ways to cope with the situation and show that you care for them.
    • Encourage them to do things that they fear, but never force them.
    • Extend your help when they feel anxious about something.
    • Praise them when they do something that could actually make them anxious.
    • Use positive terms like brave and strong to help them overcome their fears.

    Anxiety is curable with the right treatment approach and following the home care tips we mentioned above. As a parent, you can try and prevent anxiety in teens by developing a strong bond with them. Taking steps to manage your own reactions so that you are able to listen calmly is critical and may be among the most difficult parts of supporting your teen who is struggling. A healthy parent-child relationship allows children to open up about their problems and seek help from the parents before things get out of hand.

    Did your teen have any anxiety issues? How did you deal with it? Share your experience with us in the comment section below.

    Reference links:

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    Dealing With Anxiety In Athletes

    3. Teens thrive on nonjudgmental support. Passing judgment on a child for how they are different, what they do, or how they look tells them you are disappointed in who they are. It makes them feel less worthy of love.

    Often, parents and teachers judge teens without understanding them. Judging is a quick way to show disapproval. To build an enduring, supportive relationship with teens, adults must stop passing judgment and instead attempt to understand. It is through understanding that teenagers learn to accept themselves for who they are.

    4. Teens have normal fears about their lives and futures. Adolescence is a time when kids search for their identities. It is accompanied by tremendous changes in the brains neural network. These changes can be a natural trigger for anxiety in teens as they begin to worry about how they fit into society.

    These fears are a normal part of growing up. Adults can help reduce this anxiety by normalizing it. Engage teens in conversations about their fears. Share stories of your own fears. When families learn to communicate about adversity, children become less anxious and more resilient.

    5. Teens want to find meaning and purpose in their lives. With adolescence comes the positive ability to reflect on ones own thinking. This is what neuroscientists call metacognition. As childrens metacognitive abilities increase, research suggests they also achieve at higher levels.

    How Can I Help My Teen Suffering From Depression And Anxiety

    Anxiety and Depression in Teens: What to do if your child doesn’t want help

    Teen depression and anxiety are treatable. Yet, according to the 2017 Child Mind Institute Childrens Mental Health Report, 60% of youth with depression go untreated, and 80% of youth with anxiety go untreated. Here are a few ways you can help your teen and prevent prolonged suffering.

    Stay engaged and be an emotionally safe person for your teen to confide in.

    We understand how difficult it is to see your child exhibiting attitudes and behaviors that accompany teen depression and anxiety. Encourage your teen to express what theyre feeling and resist the temptation to punish, lecture, or offer platitudes. Everyone wants to be heard, including your teen, so the best thing you can do is listen.

    Stay alert and trust your gut.

    You have instincts as a parent trust them. Seek the help your child needs if your gut is telling you that your child is really struggling. If your child is depressed and says anything related to self-harm, suicide, or death, take it very seriously. Ask frank questions and get help promptly.

    Seek the support of a licensed mental health professional.

    If you suspect your child needs help coping with depression and anxiety, seek the support of a mental health professional who understands teens unique needs and has experience working with teens.

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    How Kids Are Learning The Opposite Of Resiliency And What To Do About It

    On October 16, The New York Times Magazine featured an article by Benoit Denizet-Lewis entitled The Kids Who Cant. The article documented a spike in both teen anxiety and depression since 2011 and suggests that the cause might be the widespread adoption of smartphones and social media.

    That is partially true, but the real reason is deeper. It’s about the balance between seeking happiness by changing the self and environment versus adapting to what is. Sometimes it is great to shape our environment and choices for our comfort and happiness, but there needs to be an equal measure of accepting the cards we are dealt. The problem is that young people are taught to seek the perfect situation and not nearly enough to accept and adapt. That kind of adapting is called “resilience.” It is the habit and skill of being willing and able to live with conditions that can’t or shouldn’t be changed.

    Then there is the exposure young people receive to what looks like easy, instant fame and victory. They see their hero, effortlessly winning the championship or the contest. They arm their video avatar with the most powerful weapons and, with the quickness of an adolescent brain, take down the enemy. Are they given any realistic glimpse of the drive, focus, hours of grueling practice, impossible luck, or extraordinary privilege it takes to reach the top? Rarely, and when they are, its in the lawyer text squeezed in underneath the smiling faces.

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