Reasons for Teen Depression

Reasons for teen depression may vary from person to person. Genetics, environment, medical conditions, trauma, and stress can play a role in the reasons for teen depression. Keep reading to find out information on these causes of depression in teens.

Teenage years are full of changes mixed with excitement, independence, craziness, adventure, laughter, learning, and fun! Why then, do some teenagers experience depression? Teen depression is a rising epidemic in society affecting 4 out of 100 teenagers each year. It can be a real challenge and heart ache to see a once vibrant teen slip into the lowly realms of sadness and gloom. Emotional experiences are a normal part of growing up and are useful for learning and growth but may also have the ability to cause prolonged sadness and sorrow. Several factors that may lead to this serious illness of depression could be genetics or family history, environment, medical or physical conditions, and trauma or stress from life’s events.

Genetics/family history

Genetics and a family history of depression have been linked to causes of depression but are not limited to. If there is a history of depression in families, they may share the same genes linked to depression. Chemical imbalances may be inherited giving insight to a teen’s behavior knowing the family history. Physicians will evaluate a teen’s family history of depression when screening for probability of depression. Teens with a history of family depression are more prone to have depressed symptoms; however, not all teens with a family history will inherit this illness.


Just as a rose needs sunlight and water to thrive, teens need love and security. Surrounded in an environment full of contention, abuse, or even poverty can lead to low self esteem contributing to bouts of depression. An unhappy family life full of negative feedback attacks the teen’s outlook on life and the way they feel about themselves. Over time the lack of self esteem can lead them to the paths of depression feeling hopeless and that of a failure. Sometimes a teen with low self esteem can fall to the prey of substance abuse to escape their stressful environment or in some cases teens that abuse drugs and alcohol bring on the depression because of the substances of which they are taking have the ability to alter chemicals within the brain affecting mood changes. Either way, substance abuse is a battle towards the victory of self esteem and control.

Medical or physical conditions

The brain deserves most of the credit for the chemical imbalances which can cause depression. Neurotransmitters aid in communicating between nerve cells in the brain. There are specific neurotransmitters that affect mood and when the levels are running low, depression or sadness can set in. Some medical conditions such as hypothyroidism have also been discovered to lead to depression. Chemical imbalances within the brain can effect mood and in some cases require medication. Prolonged physical disabilities may also lead to depression. Doctors can prescribe medications to clear up symptoms of depression allowing them to disappear with regular doses of prescribed drugs. Treating teens with medication for depression is only recommended in severe cases. Psychotherapies have been proven to be more successful whereas prescribed drugs can sometimes leave negative results leading to more feelings of depression.

Trauma and stress from life’s events

What may seem like a scatter rain shower to an adult, can be a hurricane to a teen when dealing with stress related to life’s events. It is imperative to not take the teen’s emotional instability lightly. They need to feel validated with their emotions and understood. The obvious challenges that can lead to depression are death of a loved one, friend or pet. When grieving is allowed to go on for long periods of time, the teen may become vulnerable to depression. Talking things through with someone can create great strides in overcoming the traumatic event that occurred. Other storms related to teen depression can be when parents separate, divorce, or remarry. Moving to a new area, switching schools, and adventuring out to find new friendships can also lead to depression. Any event that can cause trauma or stress to an individual teen has the potential to cause symptoms of depression. Parents will sometimes ignore the warning signs of depression knowing the behavior is normal to life’s challenges. Adjustment is necessary to all of life’s events but sadness and despair does not need to consume the teen in great lengths. Parents can help their teen move the dark cloud of gloom and be the rainbow of hope for healing.

Recognizing the reason for depression can enlighten those persons when prescribing the needed help for the teen. Just as a gardener tills his garden and alters the soil according to the needs for successful plants, teens need to be cultivated with love, understanding, and security. The sun will come out tomorrow.