Depression in Adolescence

Advice for Parents!

What every parent should know

Depression is the most common psychological problem of adolescence. Depression is defined as feeling sad, frustrated, and hopeless about life, accompanied by loss of pleasure in most activities and disturbances in sleep, appetite, concentration, and energy (Berk,421). Studies have shown that around 15 to 20 percent of teenagers have experienced depression. While serious depression affects only 1 to 2 percent. In this flyer you will learn ways to tell if your child is depressed and ways to support them.

Factors That Increase Depression

  • Family history- Having a family member with depression increases the risk
  • Early Childhood Experience- Such as losing a parent at an early age
  • Stress- Negative life events, such as divorce
  • Alcohol Abuse

Signs and symptoms of depression

  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Fatigue or lack of energy

You just learned what can cause depression and the symptoms. Now here are some ways to help your child cope with depression.

  • Be understanding- During this time you must remember that your child is not being difficult on purpose. They need someone they can count on to listen and not judge, so do your best to be patient and understanding.
  • Encourage physical activity- Exercise can be a key factor in relieving the symptoms of depression. Something as simple as walking the dog can go a long way.
  • Encourage social activity- If they are alone all the time it only makes depression worse, so they need to be encouraged to go see friends and socialize.

Sleep problems and depression in adolescence

In this article a study was aimed to to examine the association between depression and several sleep parameters, including insomnia, in a population based study of adolescence aged 16-18, and to explore potential gender differences. The study was conducted in 2012 in Norway. They surveyed 10,220 adolescence age 16-18 (54% girls) about sleep and depression. Depressed adolescence exhibited shorter sleep and time in bed as well as significantly longer sleep onset latency (SOL) and wake after sleep onset (WASO). Those with insomnia had a 4-5 fold increased odds of depression compared to good sleepers. For those who slept less than 6 hours there was an increase in odds of depression. The findings were stronger for boys, put this study proves that sleep problems and depression are related and there should be increased awareness for this as a public health issue.

Sivertsen, Børge. "Sleep Problems and Depression in Adolescence." N.p., 30 Nov. 2013. Web. <>.

Teenagers and Depression: What Parents Need to Know