Teen Depression and Violence

There are recent studies that indicate several links between teen depression and violence. As depression rates in teens continue to climb, so do links to violence behaviors and violence-related attacks among teens. Teen depression and violence is a serious problem that requires attention.

Parents, teachers and health care professionals are taking a closer look at the link between teen depression and violence. Because these two instances among teens are correlating to higher numbers, it is important for parents to be on the look out for signs of depression in their teens because this mental illness can lead to cases of suicide as well as cases of homicide and suicide connections or attempted attacks on others.

According to the National Institute of Health, depression is occurring more rapidly in teens in newer generations because more teens are being recognized as having depression, while many in the past went overlooked or undiagnosed.  Many teens with depression issues will turn to violence toward themselves first as an outlet of dealing with their pain. Cases of cutting, burning and other forms of self-mutilation are not uncommon unfortunately among teens. This violence always risks of running even worse in terms of the teens taking it to the extreme of suicide or even to the point where they take their anger and sadness out on others. Over the past few decades the number of school shootings in high schools throughout the United States has increased. These links between teen depression and violence are clearly evident and more efforts need to be taken to prevent these devastating and dangerous situations in the future.

One of the best ways to prevent situations like these from getting so far is for parents to take an active approach to watching the moods of their teens. This can be easier said than done especially when most teens are experiencing a series of ups and downs emotionally with a huge influx of hormones that can cause teens to act out, become temporarily depressed or moody, etc. Keeping in communication with your teens to determine if their moodiness is a more severe case of depression is important. Watching for certain signs is also helpful to see if you can see a link between teen depression and violence in your teen.

Signs of Teen Depression and Violence:

  • Moodiness
  • Acting withdrawn or not engaging in activities like he/she used to
  • Low energy
  • Not eating or eating too much (binging)
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Self-criticism and self-esteem issues
  • Threatening others
  • Acting out in a manner of rage
  • Inability to accept criticism without getting violently upset
  • Throws or damages objects when angry
  • Drug and/or alcohol use
  • Feeling rejected
  • Having been a victim of bullying
  • Poor academic performance
  • Yells, hits, punches, kicks, etc.
  • Gets into regular fights or altercations with peers

There are a few ways to take corrective action when you see instances of teen depression and violence. Taking action as soon as you start to see the signs is the most effective way to prevent a serious and possibly fatal outcome from happening. Getting your teen professional help is imperative toward his or her recovery. There are a few ways to go about this. Especially if your teen is showing signs of violence in addition to depression, both issues need to be addressed. First, depression can be treated through therapy in an individual, one-on-one setting or through a group therapy session. This group therapy option might be with other members of the teen’s family or with the parents. It might even be with other teens going through and dealing with the same issues. As far as treating violence, the teen might benefit from attending additional anger management classes and sessions with an anger management professional.

To protect your teens issues with teen depression and violence from experiencing a tragic outcome, or having these troubles continue into their adult life, it is important to address the issue promptly. Keeping a strong dialog with your teen is also a good way to continue a relationship of trust when they feel like they can confide in their parents to tell t hem their feelings of depression and violence. Getting help right away is the best way to help them successfully overcome these issues of teen depression and violence.

Sources: athealth.com