“Depression” is a familiar word, especially amongst young adults. That mood that weighs you down until it feels as if nothing is worth doing anymore. Nothing seems exciting and you find yourself energy drained. At this point, take a deep breathe, smile and continue reading this piece …
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), depression results from a complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors. Although the exact causes of depression remain unclear and may involve a combination of factors, 2 major factors have been identified, namely;
- Physical Factors
- Stress: A little stress can be healthy, but excessive or chronic stress can be physically or physiologically harmful sometimes to the point of plunging a vulnerable teenager into depression. Stress-related factors linked to depression may include parental divorce or separation, the death of a loved one, physical or sexual abuse, a serious accident, illness or a learning disability. Other factors such as unrealistically high parental expectations, bullying, uncertainty about the future, emotional estrangement by a depressed parent and lack of stable, consistent parental care.
2. Physical Factors: Physical risk factors such as genetics, cardiovascular disease, ongoing substance abuse and changing hormone levels may give rise to depression or intensify it.
- Watch out for major changes in behavior, eating habits, moods, sleep patterns or social interactions, especially if the changes persist for weeks.
- Create a warm, stable and consistent family routine for eating, exercising and sleeping.
- Maintain good communication with your teen.
- Regularly assure your kids of your love to help them fight feelings of worthlessness and loneliness.
- Take seriously any comments or hints regarding suicide.
- If you suspect depression (persistent symptoms) consider getting professional help.
- Help your teen adhere to the doctor’s prescribed treatment and follow up therapy as necessary.
Lifestyle changes are advised because our mind and body are closely connected.
Teens who suffer from depression can take the following steps to help fight depression:
- Eat nutritious meals and avoid junk food which can trigger rollercoaster emotions.
- Get sufficient sleep to help you perform at your best.
- Exercise regularly, this helps to release chemicals that can lift your mood, increase your energy and improve your sleep.
- Confide in someone you trust, develop a supportive network of close family and friends to help you.
- Record your feelings in a diary to help you identify triggers and patterns.
- Create a “First-Aid Kit” for your emotions.
You might want to include the following items to help you control your thoughts and feelings when feelings of depression strikes;
- Contact information of people to call when you feel down (close network of supportive family and friends)
- A diary containing positive thoughts and experiences you have enjoyed.
- Pictures and mementos to remind you of people who love you.
- A list of comforting and uplifting sayings from the Bible/Quran.
- Inspirational sayings and encouraging articles.
- A compilation of favorite songs that are positive and uplifting.
Source – Awake Magazine (No. 1 2017)