DEPRESSION IN TEENS
Depression refers to a medical disorder that that causes a person to persistently feel sad, low or disinterested in daily activities, which according to Mondimore (2011), those feelings of sadness and lowness continue for an extended period.
It is characterized issues like mental health problems, chronic anxiety, disruptive behavior disorders, poor academic performance, etc. These teens may appear unmotivated or uncaring about their work, when in fact they are unable to function to their level of ability.
It is estimated that in all depressions recorded in a given year, 25% is experienced by teens and children. It affects mental health, which may change the day-to-day functioning of the body of the children and teenagers. It may greatly affects their sleep whereby they experience difficulties in falling or staying asleep, or may sleep much longer than they used to sleep.
It also affects their concentration, and subsequently may lead to poor performance in school. They also lose appetite because of it, and their health starts deteriorating.
Teen depression statistics
In the U.S, more than 8% of the teenagers have at least been diagnosed with depressive symptoms. The study further states that about 20% of the teens are likely to have depression before adulthood. Although the figures vary from one study to another, the undisputed fact is that Female teenagers are the most depressed, with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) giving 16.2% representing females and 5.3% being male.
The survey that was conducted in 2003 further gives a picture of the ages that are most often affected by depression, with 15year olds appearing to be the most depressed, and 12 year olds to be the least depressed.
It was found out that teens with more than one ethnicity formed the majority of the depressed teens, when the results were analyzed ethnically. They were followed by Hispanics, who were closely followed by white teens, then Asian teens. African American teens were next, and finally the American Indians close the list as the least depressed teens.
Williams &Teasdale (2012) describe depression as a medical disorder that that causes a person to persistently feel sad, low or disinterested in daily activities, and it robs us of our joy, and keeps us awake all night. Its symptoms mostly begin to increase around puberty, are may be characterized by some intense feelings of worthlessness and sadness, accompanied a withdrawal from social situation which arises from a sense of futility (Elliott, 2014).
Causes of teen Depression
The causes of teen depression vary from emotional awareness to familial backgrounds and other biological endowments Reynolds (2013). This is proven by…
…Kranzler etal (2015) who found out that that low baseline awareness in emotions predicted both anxiety and depressive symptoms in teens. Lancaster (2011) notes that lack of parental representation and insecure attachments contribute largely to kids being depressed. Maltreatment of adolescents, according to Rothery (1990) is another common reason for depression in teens. Dante & Fred (2014) conducted a study in which he targeted African American kids, and found out that the reasons that stood out among those kids was maltreatment
(Montag, 2015) gave addiction to the internet as a leading reason of child & teen depression. This claim was investigated by Guo etal (2012) in a study they conducted in China, which was coupled by another variable that exhibited depressive symptoms in teens. It revealed that migration was also a factor, and this is backed by Munck, 2013. The study revealed that rural kids with no internet addiction were less likely to be depressed that internet addicted urban teens. KO etal (2010) adds their voice to the fact that internet connection is associated with depression and other newly emergent disorders.
Characteristics of depression
A study by Somerville Somerville et al (2011) demonstrated how depression is expressed by teens and children revealed that they show higher levels of amygdala activation as a response to emotional facial expressions as compared to children and adults. It is noted that different types of depressions will show different types of syptoms, as explained by Hart, & Weber (2008). The most common ones however are sad moods that are persistent and the inability for the affected to feel happiness.
Others my exhibit excessive activity that is…
…manic mixed with explosive outbursts and irritability. For others, the symptoms are usually low moods and a look of hopelessness. Reisser (2012) adds on to the list of the symptoms a loss of enthusiasm on the things that were once their favorites. Some tend to develop negativities about themselves, and won’t be convinced otherwise while others will even have suicidal thoughts. Other physical symptoms may include lack of sleep, frequent insomnia, loss of appetite, fatigues, headaches, dizziness, nausea etc.
Treatment and management of teen depression
To begin with, Schulz (2013) notes that Parents who are depressed are thought by many to be unreliable when it comes to reporting children’s depression symptoms, therefore it becomes double tragedy. Since depression in teens is characterized by suicidality (Bridge etal, 2014), it’s important to assess the self-reported suicidality and to balance the treatment groups on this predictor of emergent suicidality to accurately evaluate the role played by treatment in emergent suicidality.
The treatment varies according to the different types of depression and the level of the depression. Chronic depression won’t be treated as the common depression would. Springer etal (2011) notes that the treatment can be in terms of cognitive Behavior Therapy, Behavioral Activation and Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy. There are also medical treatments for treating specific symptoms, with specific medication to be prescribed for specific conditions.
The depression Behavioral theories mainly emphasize the role of maladaptive actions in the maintenance of depression. Martell, Addis, & Jacobson (2001) suggest behavioral Activation as a functional approach to deal with depression. This theory maintains that depressed people act in different ways that maintain depression and tend to find the origin of their depression in their environment. The theory seeks therefore to help people who are depressed understand the environmental causes of their depression, and targets the behaviors that might either maintain or
worsen the situation. Notably, depressed teens may have behaviors that are socially aversive, and may fail to participate in enjoyable activities or engage in other activities that are maladaptive. This theory claims that B.A often serves as avoidance strategies while the patient copes with a stressful event. There are two main coping mechanisms, according to Parks (2013), which are rumination and distraction. Rumination is there to deal with the symptoms, While distraction is where depressed people/teens engage in pleasant activities so as to divert their attention from the depressive
symptoms. Ruminators often focuses on the cause of their stress and their feelings, but distractors engage in those activities that will distance them from the stressful events and subsequently their feelings. According to Martell, Addis, & Jacobson (2001), Ruminators are very much more likely to be more depressed than distractors, and results of their study showed BA was efficacious as an antidepressant and had an advantage over other modes of treatment of depression. On the other hand, Albert Bandura developed a Social Cognitive Theory to Depression, where he suggested that people are
shaped by their thoughts, behaviors and environmental events interactions. In that case, self regulation according to Bandura is important in managing medical conditions such as depression, as well as in their prevention (Swain & Brawner, 2012). Bandura noted that depressed individuals’ self-concepts are totally different from a non-depressed person’s. Depressed people will hold themselves responsible and blame themselves for the bad in their lives. In contrast, the successes in dealing with depression gets to be perceived as having originated from factors external to the depressed individual’s control.
A PROPOSAL FOR A HEALTH PROMOTION PROGRAM
Based on the two theories, a thorough health promotion program that focuses on the behavioral change of depressed teens needs to be in place. I propose a program that will focus on providing distraction for the depressed teens, coupled with seminars where talks are held to talk to the teens. Sports will be a great strategy to reach out to the community and it offers a great distraction since is so energy sapping and engrossing. Here, I am thinking of sports such as basketball, football, hockey
among others. Teenagers who have exhibited depressive symptoms will be encouraged to take up some sport and this might help them to manage or reduce the impact of depression on them. Ehrhardt, & Lowry (2005) notes that the activity itself is not so important. The important thing is to pick an activity that will engage the teens and that will get them out of their negative pattern of thinking. Considering the target group and other demographics of the targeted teens, I think sports will offer a very good distraction. This program is expected to help the teens get out of depression. As a short term goal, the
program seeks to get the teens to be distracted from their depressive lives, which should ultimately be lead to the teens being free of their depression because of the continued engagement in sports. The program is as well meant to reduce the stigma associated with mental ilnesess.
The target group
A study done in a south eastern estate of Atlanta with a black population of about 38% African Americans revealed that although most of the respondents had expressed signs of depression such as feeling low, sad and stressed, they
couldn’t call it depression and they were also hesitant to label their peers as depressed. Additionally, Naylor (2009) African Americans families face greater challenges in accessing mental health care compared to white families. The African American families are lessLikely to seek medical care as initial first step. For this reason, the program will target African American teens, between the ages of 15-17. The African American teens are at a greater risk of their depression escalating to severe stages. The age group is one that contains the highest number of depressed teens.
Implementing the program
On the onset, the program will make use of social media and mainstream media to create awareness. This is supposed to be done just before the program kicks off. This is will be done by volunteers to make everyone aware of the program, as explained by Andreas and Michael (2010). The organizers will get to the mainstream media before the program starts as well.
Community leaders will also be relied upon to create awareness in their communities about the program.
The teens will be invited to participate in various sporting activities, for a couple of days/weeks, depending on an individual. There will be professional psychiatrists who will tend to the teens between the sporting sessions, and give them counsel on how to overcome their depression. Staff will be recruited in the communities to help in providing support services. Successful teens who are stars will become ambassadors of the program, since their influence will grow amongst their peers.
According to Issel (2014), the purpose of evaluation is to measure the programs effects against the program’s set goals so as to help in subsequent decision making concerning the program. The evaluation will focus on the process as well as the outcome and successes of the program.
All the teens at the end of the program will be assessed, and their mental states also assessed. Their behavior will be monitored for a few days after the program, and their mental state compared to their mental state prior to
Them joining the program. The leaders tasked with mobilization, as well as the team that conducted awareness on social media was tasked will also be evaluated in terms of the outcome. To evaluate the program, we will ask: Was there any changes noted in the teens? Are depression rates still the same after the whole program? Is there a sustainability program? Will the teens be visited at their homes to note the changes, if any? Did the community warm up to the program? What are some of the review the program got at the end of the project?
Depression is a problem that won’t escape us, as it will always be there with us. For the teens therefore, there is needed effort to ensure that it is managed properly, and be avoided if possible. It should be treated as a health problem just like any other, since stigmatization only does more harm than good.
The intervention measures have to be done in a way that will first make the depressed teens forget about their depressive life events. The distraction methods calls for the program implementer to come up with activities that is enjoyable to the teens, as they are meant to offer reliable distractions.
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