At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Teenage depression and suicide often correlate. According to the Nemours Foundation, suicide is the third most common cause of fatality in people ages 15 to 24. Suicide is brought on by severe and sometimes even prolonged cases of depression in teenagers. Parents should consider depression warning signs in teens and look for solutions to prevent the tragedy of a suicide.
Depression occurs when there is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Stresses of everyday life combined with hormonal changes increase the risk of depression in teens. This is different than feeling down occasionally. Depression tends to last for several weeks. This state occurs even on days when a teenager is participating in activities that normally make him or her feel happy.
There are different symptoms of depression. These might include anxiety, excessive fatigue, persistent sadness, and irritability. Physical changes can also occur, including significant weight gain or loss, as well as body pains. A depressed teen might also become antisocial and experience low self-esteem.
Teenage depression and suicide can occur at any time. Generally, depression will last for weeks or even months. This can make a teenager feel discouraged that he or she will never find happiness. In other cases, a bout of serious depression can be deadly if a teenager goes through a personal crisis. The depression may lead to suicidal thoughts.
Substance abuse can also increase teen suicide risk. Depressed teenagers sometimes seek illegal substances and alcohol as a means of coping. Such abuse might actually increase suicidal thoughts in depressed teens.
Suicide risk factors increase as depression continues. A suicidal teen might also talk vaguely about being tired of life or wanting to die. Teen depression and suicide seems to be more common in boys. The occurrence of suicidal thoughts, however, is greater in girls.
There are ways that parents can help their teens if they suspect teen depression and suicide risk factors. It is important to first always be in constant communication with teens. Depression often gives the feeling of being alone in the world. Parents can help to assure their teens that they are there for their children.
Support groups are available for depressed teens. Although teenagers often have difficulties expressing their feelings about depression and suicide with others, this method can be helpful. By talking to other teens about depression, a teen can realize that he or she is not alone. Teenage depression and suicide symptoms may be helped with support groups.
Medications and professional therapy can also help to reduce the incidence of teenage depression and suicide, but should only be considered after diagnosis by a licensed physician. A physician might recommend prescription antidepressants for a chemical imbalance. Therapy is generally recommended for teens who have post-traumatic stress disorder or other types of severe stress.