Today, more and more teens are living with depression. There are many possible factors contributing to this rise in depression rates among teens. The COVID-19 pandemic left many teens isolated at home for months on end. Furthermore, the increased prevalence of technology in our daily lives means that some teens lack offline friendships. Finally, constant exposure to negative events in the news may be exacerbating mental health issues among teens.
Depression can manifest differently depending on the person. But lots of teens struggling with depression are struggling with a few specific issues. Here’s how depression can affect teens in the long run.
Loneliness and Smaller Social Circles
For depressed teens, making friends is difficult. They might not feel like they fit in at school. If they’re withdrawn during classes, they may not connect with their peers. Additionally, they may not have the energy and motivation to participate in extracurricular activities.
Perhaps they had a solid group of friends before their symptoms began cropping up, and now they’ve lost touch. The lack of close friendships only worsens their symptoms in the long run because they do not feel like they can lean on anyone. Isolation is often a major problem for teens suffering from depression.
Losing Hope for the Future
People with depression often feel like things will never improve in the future. This holds true for teens with depression, too. They might question why they should bother going to school and trying to get good grades.
A teen with depression may not be interested in pursuing college, trade school, or any sort of certifications after high school because they don’t see the point. It can feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, and therefore, there’s no incentive to work hard and reach for a better future.
Teens with depression may feel like they have nothing to lose. This can lead to a wide range of behavioral problems. They might act out in school because they don’t give much thought to the consequences, or fail to turn in assignments.
It can also be harder for teens with depression to have healthy relationships with their parents. Their parents might not know how to relate, and both parties may feel like they don’t know how to bridge the gap between their experiences.
Lack of Independence
Because depression can sap your motivation and energy, teens dealing with this condition might not make an effort to learn essential skills for adulthood. A teen with depression might avoid getting a part-time job, taking college classes, cooking, cleaning, or tackling other life skills and important developmental experiences.
They may rely heavily on their parents to manage responsibilities that other people their age have no trouble handling on their own. Additionally, they may not have much interest in romantic relationships. Their parents might even be concerned about their teen’s ability to live independently in the future.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Overall, teens with depression are vulnerable to unhealthy coping mechanisms. These coping mechanisms represent an escape from their reality, but they’re harmful in the long term. They might turn to substance abuse to suppress their feelings or temporarily find relief from their symptoms.
If they struggle to make friends, they may get attached to anyone who pays them the slightest hint of attention, even if this person’s behavior sends up red flags. Teens with depression are also at a high risk of self-harm.
Are you concerned that your teen might be struggling with depression? A therapist can help them heal. Get in touch with us to learn more about our therapy options for teens.