A Quick Look at Depression
Each one of us at some time or the other in life has felt low. It could be because of any reason like the passing of a dear one, breaking up of a relationship, or low grades. That feeling that everything is going wrong and nothing seems to be looking up at the moment. But that does not mean that one is depressed, it could just be unhappiness. Then what exactly is depression? Well, depression is that the sadness and feeling of unhappiness and helplessness lasts for a longer period of time and is much deeper and just does not go away.
Depression is often considered as a stigma in society and this prevents the person undergoing it to seek professional and medical help for it. This can affect a person physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. They start thinking of themselves as being misfits and go further and further in this quagmire. It is at this stage that they start considering suicide as a means of ending their suffering. However, it is a treatable medical condition and with proper help, counseling, and guidance the person can be brought back into society.
Symptoms of Depression
Some of the symptoms shown by people going through depression might be the following:
- Low mood
- Aversion to activity
- Aversion to socializing
- Difficulty in concentration
- Feeling of helplessness
- Suicidal tendency
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
Causes of Depression
Some of the common causes of depression may be the following
- Personality changes
- Substance abuse
- Family history
- Clinical Depression
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Post Natal Depression
- Major Depression
- Manic Depression
- Perinatal Depression
- Seasonal Depression
- Situational Depression
In India, the number of suicide cases was around 2.3 lakhs in 2016. It is the most common cause of death in both age groups of 15 to 29 years and 15 to 39 years. Teenage depression is a stark reality of the present-day society. With the kind of pressure, the children live under they set very high and at times unrealistic and unachievable goals for themselves. When they are unable to achieve these goals they might slip into depression.
The declaration of examination results is a time when there is a spike in the suicidal attempts by the students as they are unable to get good grades or they feel they have not been able to live upto their parents expectations.
An Alarming Truth
An alarming truth: teen girls and boys are both at risk for suicide. Though many do not recognize suicide as a serious threat to a teenager’s well being, teen suicide is a major cause of death among teenagers. Experts estimate that for every teen suicide death, there are 10 other teen suicide attempts. Many teenagers who commit suicide try to ask for help in some way before committing suicide, usually by seeing a doctor or psychiatrist shortly before the suicide attempt.
Teenage girls are more likely to attempt suicide, but teenage boys are four to five times more likely to die by suicide. Even though teenage girls make more attempts on their own lives than teenage boys, the boys are more likely to actually complete a suicide attempt. They do not allow for intervention and are less likely to “call for help” through a suicide attempt since there is often little opportunity to get males into treatment since their suicide completion rate is higher than that of females.
What are the major factors that influence or cause teenage suicide? It is said that depression is the most common cause of teenage suicide. It is depression that leads people to focus mostly on failures and disappointments, to emphasize the negative side of their situations, and to downplay their own capabilities or self-worth.
Depression affects a person’s thoughts in such a way that the person doesn’t see that he or she can overcome a present problem. It’s as if depression puts a filter on the person’s thinking and totally distorts reality. For this reason, depressed people don’t realize the gravity of pondering suicide as a means to “resolve” or escape a particular problem. A teenager with depression may feel like there’s no other way out of problems; no other escape from emotional pain, or no other way to communicate their desperate sadness. Some teenagers actually think that attempting suicide is the only way to get their message across to their family or friends.
Depression is a very serious condition that can ruin a teenager’s young life. Young people with problems such as living in a violent or abusive environment, problems with parents, or a recent break-up with a boyfriend or girlfriend can suffer from emotional and psychological distress.
Further, teenagers who feel suicidal may not even realize that they are depressed. They may even be unaware of their depression. At times, they can be so emotionally disturbed and see death as the only way out of their troubles.
The attempt to suicide could well be a call for help and should be treated with due gravity. Counselors and therapists can provide emotional support and can help teens develop coping skills for dealing with problems. Constant communication, guidance, and abundant love from immediate family and friends are of major importance in dealing with a teenager with suicidal tendencies. Teens with severe emotional and psychological problems will also benefit from joining a support network for young people who are going through the same problems. When depression lifts because a teenager gets the proper therapy or treatment, the distorted thinking is cleared. Depression need not take the life out of a teenager.
Watch Netflix Original series “13 Reasons Why” that gives some insight and raises awareness for suicide, bullying, mental illness, and sexual assault.
Life Ahead !
With proper help and guidance, young people with problems can recover and find pleasure, energy, and hope again.